Thursday, 14 June 2012

Charming Chelsea Flowers

Well again, I am very behind with my blogging but I didn't want to miss the opportunity to record this year's visit to Chelsea Flower Show last month.  It's been lovely to look back over these snaps and reflect on how very lucky we were, really the only week of decent (and indeed it was glorious) weather we've had.  I was late in deciding to go because of the bad weather, so I was only able to get an evening ticket which afforded me a quick dash round the show.  Luckily, I have been a few times so I have a good idea of what I want to see though I was gutted when I watched the tv coverage to see I'd missed the gorgeous work hut created by Kaffe Fassett.  No, I didn't manage to nab some groovy transport like this to get me to the flower show, it was just the train and the special flower show bus!

In we go then, dodging the ticket touts who are always after your ticket.

The grounds of the Old Chelsea Hospital make a wonderful backdrop though I'm sure not all visitors actually realise it is there, I know I didn't for a few years.

I was decidedly underwhelmed by the large show gardens this year.  Too much hard landscaping for me and not enough pretty planting.  Any plants tended to be the obligatory green/white/purple mix.  It's always difficult to get near enough to see them, you really just have to be patient - and determined.  I looked at most of them briefly and got fed up of seeing all the City types with their champagne flutes, invited by the sponsors, posing inside the gardens and getting in the way.  I paid to see gardens not people, thank you.  Oh dear, get off your soapbox, Hen.  

Here are a few snaps of some of the passable ones, anyway, people cropped out!

I was really looking forward to seeing this garden with the retro caravan but I'm afraid I didn't really love this one, either.  I most liked the curtains.  (It took me ages to get a shot without loads of people going in and out of the caravan, of course.)  I thought a lot of the planting was very wild looking this year, not in a pretty cottage garden sense, and didn't look much different from the weedy uncultivated patch at the bottom of my garden!

Good to see  a tribute to Her Majesty in her jubilee year.

The new area of "Fresh Gardens" was a massive disappointment.  They were all so very modern, loads of hard landscaping not enough plants (again).  Is this meant to be a garden?

Let's find something better, shall we?  I've probably given you the impression Chelsea was a big disappointment this year.  It really wasn't, even just wandering round, especially on such a glorious evening, is a pleasure.  Yes, the show gardens were not my cup of tea (they might be someone else's, of course) but the floral pavillion never disappoints.

Stunning peonies...

David Austin's new rose for this year, oh golly, I adore this but how many peachy/pinky many-petalled roses does a girl need?  Hmm, maybe just one more?

The delphiniums are always statuesque and superb.

Peter Beales' Roses stand always looks just gorgeous and smells heavenly, too.

The displays were certainly impressive...

I always really love these hyacinths and marvel at their perfection, mine are always floppy (I think they put slim wires inside?)  Again, they smell amazing.

Let's not forget that Chelsea is also about shopping.  ONE DAY, I will have my dream greenhouse!

Also, these bronze boxing hares, pretty please.  Don't they look beautiful amongst those meadow flowers.  This is the sort of "wild" I do like.

I was blown away by this lady's paintings which I'd not seen before.  So much detail, so beautiful, gorgeous colours.  Ohhh, I'd like one of those too?

Very much!

There was even a smattering of scrumptious vintage to keep me happy though the prices were somewhat out of my league.

Finally, as I rushed off to catch the last show bus, I found my favourite thing of the show.

I don't need to explain why, dear reader, do I?

If you get the chance, go go go, it's an opportunity not to be missed.  You can't please everyone, can you (and I'm pretty darned choosy!)


  1. I have never made the Chelsea flower show to date but always enjoy watching it on the TV. It's the crowds that put me off, all that pushing and jostling. I adore the hares...something else I have never managed to see. Looks like you had a lovely time. dev x

  2. I went to Chelsea many many years ago with my mum, you're right if anyone gets a chance to go, go! I saw it on television and really admired the caravan garden.
    Julie xxxxxxxx

  3. Absolutely with you on the hard landscaping thing Hen but you will have to fight me for that greenhouse!
    One can never have enough peachy pink blowsy roses, especially with good perfume.

  4. I just love the vintage dog - it was purchased from me at the last Vintage Fayre organised by Vintage Vision, Abergavenny. The next one is on Sunday the 1st July at the Market Hall, Abergavenny - you would love it.

    Julie at Never Felt Sew Good

  5. I just love the vintage dog which was purchased from me at the last Vintage Vision Fayre in Abergaveny. The next one is on Sunday the 1st July - please try to visit you will have a lovely day. (Isnt it a small world)

    Julie at Never Felt Sew Good

  6. Love the David Austin rose and also the greenhouse. My favourite is the Morris Minor. When I was at school my best friend (still is) used to get picked up by her brother every afternoon in a split windscreen Morris Minor. This was in the late 70s (old or what?) before such cars became trendy. She absolutely hated him for having that car and made him pick her up round the corner so no one saw her getting into it! She'd probably bite someone's hand off for one of those now!
    Lovely photos.

  7. In absolute agreement with you and Kate on the hard landscaping - it looks more like an old Eastern Bloc Parade, doesn't it? And the other thing I'd like to join you on your soap-box about is this....mymost 'unfavourite' word of the year... or decade: CORPORATE! I am so filled with fury at the corporate intereference in the Olympics I can scarcely speak. And it invades all other aspects of life too, to the detriment of most ordinary people.

    Phew, rant over....lovely photos, Hen!

  8. It looks like you could have curated that last shot! :)

  9. By the time I had read to the end of the comments someone had beaten me to it and took the words out of my head. Echo what Land Girl says.

  10. Glorious. Every year I mean to go and yet another year has passed. Hoping next year will be the year. It looks just wonderful. x

  11. I so love the David Austin Roses, they are beautiful. My fav, well the last picture of course. How sweet it that garden and the car as well.

  12. Thanks for a lovely post about Chelsea which is on my bucket list.I managed to watch modt of thr tv coverage but they are too preoccupied with garden design and they don't show enough of the planting and flowers.I hate all that corporate stuff.I like to see the little cottagey style gardens which are more in touch with thereal world.I love the morris minor.The kaffe Fasset stand is pictured on Wiinibriggs blog I could have laid down in it and died right !
    Anne x

  13. Oh yes, the last photo needs no explanation at all. Fabulous.
    I've not been to Chelsea recently, like you the hard landscape and boring planting just doesn't do it for me and I too have my own area of weeds to admire.
    David Austin's roses are beautiful,can almost smell them from here.
    Carol xx

  14. how lovely! even if its not to your taste (and at least you didnt waste money on a full day ticket) its still a nice way to spend an evening!

  15. If I haven't yet said it....may I now? I love, love, love, love, love your blog!!! I found it via a friend whose blog I follow. We share so many interests. And oh what I wouldn't give to visit your beautiful England!!! One day!

  16. Hen, my only visit to the Chelsea Flower Show was many years ago. I'd always dreamed of what it would be, and the year that I did get there was superb.

    Even better, just afterwards, I caught the tube to the train and visited Charleston that same afternoon.


    Don't think that I would ever want to trump that dream day, and still wish that someday I might have a garden of my own.


  17. I've never been to Chelsea Flower Show, (too far away!!), but I do watch it on the televison, I wasn't impresssed with the gardens this year, I agree too much landscaping and not enough flowers.
    The floral pavillion looks lovely I bet the scent in there was wonderful, love the roses!!
    The paintings are amazing, so much detail, they almost look like photos, one very talented lady.
    Love Linda O xxx

  18. Oh thank you! I really enjoyed my trip to the CFS via your lovely blog Hen.I hope to day.
    I'm sure it gave you plenty of inspiration for YOUR garden.
    Have a happy weekend! :0)

  19. Hi there,

    Clare here, and I had to let you know that I was helping out on the vintage-style stand you liked so much at the RHS Chelsea Show! You can see my blog about it, including photos, dated 9 June.

    I know Juliet (who sold Gilly the lovely 1950s doggie) well, from Vintage Vision and being an occasional fellow-stallholder at their Vintage Fayres in Abergavenny - what a small world it is!

    "Alfie" the dog attracted many nostalgic comments at Chelsea - almost as many as the Morris Traveller and the knitted "Chelsea Buns" (which had almost sold out by the time you took your snap of Alfie and the picnic - the tiered cakestand is quite empty!...)! And Alfie is getting his fair share of attention at this week's Gardener's World Live show at Birmingham NEC, where I'm also helping Gilly out.

    I love your blog!

    Best wishes,



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