Off the open top bus then, and into the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea.
Very grand, isn't it?
Well, it was a beautiful day, thank you very much, weather gods. On with the summery dresses. Thursday being the first day that the Show was open to the public, it was really rather busy, much busier than we remembered last year. Gardening has apparently been gaining in popularity and so it seems, has the Flower Show.
That big white tent you can see is the Floral Pavillion where you can admire all the amazing stands of flowers and fruit and veg. More of that later, people. Let's stay outside for now and enjoy the sunshine. Let's look at the show gardens before it gets, well, even busier!
Here is the garden sponsored by Laurent Perrier, (designed by an Italian, Michela!) It was good to see that there was a bit more colour in the gardens at Chelsea this year. There was plenty of purple again. What is it about purple and white in gardens? The ruby peonies, dark purple irises and bronze fennel complimented each other so well.
Can't for the life of me remember what this garden is (I'm afraid I'll be saying that about quite a lot of the gardens! Every year, there seem to be more to remember.)
We liked this garden below, it was good to see a splash of brightness with those orange candelabra primulas. The BBC show criticised this garden for being too dated but it was interesting to overhear comments from the public that they really liked these sorts of gardens. I think some of us find the trendy ones just too trendy. What's wrong with flowers? Colourful ones, preferably.
Here's the garden sponsored by the Daily Telegraph which won the best show garden. Quite trendy still but you could see why it won. Although the plants were predominantly, you guessed it, purple and white, they were beautiful. The foxtail lilies were amazing.
This is the Quilted Velvet Garden. Oh how I could have kicked off my (new) shoes and had a slouch on those cushions. Not quite sure how you were meant to get to the cushions? Leap frog across those grassy black boxes, presumably, whilst hopefully not impaling yourself on a spiky tree!
This was one of the smaller gardens. Liked the colour in this one (and the alliums). It is, of course, the obligatory PURPLE!
Liking the oh-so-tidy veg garden here below. Very much disliking those pillars which seem to have what I can only describe as graffiti written on them. This garden was a project in collaboration with homeless people and prisoners, I think. Not really my cup of tea.
And here is the infamous garden of James May, all the flowers and trees and whatsits being made from plasticine. Hmm, it's a bit of fun but I personally thought it was a waste of a show garden space.
There was quite an emphasis on "eco chic" this year and several gardens featured spots for wildlife, such as log piles. What is that large can doing in there? That's horrid! I think this was the "1984 Garden".
A garden for wildlife...
We did like this one. This is the Perfume Garden and occupied a very large plot. It smelled divine as the name might suggest and was based around the story of perfume made for Queen Elizabeth I. There were lots of roses, lavender and irises. We like those; proper plants.
The Chelsea Flower Show is not just about looking at gardens. It's also about SHOPPING! Want to go browsing?
Got a spare £20,000 or so for one of these?
Pink and green; my fave.
Time to head into the Floral Pavillion now. Prepare to be amazed!
Amazing alliums from Holland...
Lovely peonies. From Somerset, too.
Oooh, delphiniums. Complete giants!
Dad, this one's for you!
Oh golly, golly, golly gosh! Don't think my little kitchen garden will be producing anything remotely on this scale!
Ah, my fave stall. Lupins from Devon with stalks an inch thick.
It's a close-run thing. Are the lupins really my favourites or the David Austin English Roses?
Exhausting this, isn't it? Time to enjoy the sunshine mid-afternoon with a sit down, listening to the brass band and a glass of something cheeky...
Well, I had to support the Laurent Perrier garden, didn't I?
Just time to head round the courtyard gardens. We always really like these; there's something about their much smaller size which makes them more accessible to us mere gardening novices.
The English/French designed garden...
The winner of the Best Courtyard Garden, the Fen Alchemist's Garden...
Ah well, time to head South of the river for home. Sorry to be a bit sketchy on the details of the gardens but I'm still feeling a bit the worse for wear today and it is so busy and there's such a lot to see that you often can't read the names of the gardens or take it all in.
To finish, I must tell you that I did manage to track down...
Thanks for coming, sister dear!