Blessed with a sunny, warm, September day, my annual pilgrimage to Chelsea Flower Show was very enjoyable. I treated myself to a full day ticket (as opposed to my 15:30 run around) and with the extra seating created by the absence of some big stands, was able to pace myself from dawn to dusk. Over the full day it was a joy to see the changing light of the day run through the grasses and yellow rudbeckia and I caught the Yeo Valley garden glinting in the early evening sun on our way out…
Before the show opened, I had envisaged big blousy dahlias incorporated into the September show gardens. These “hot pots or beds” did not really materialise, but the prairie style grasses woven through with verbena bonariensis, asters, persicarias and salvia were still delicious with their gentle, naturalistic charms. The NHS Tribute Garden (designer Naomi Ferrett Cohen) was more of an exception and did pack a punch with its more vibrant colours
Perhaps because of our own lockdown project of building a stream, I noted multiple streams and rills. I liked them best running through the gardens such as the Yeo Valley Garden, M&G Garden and Forge Garden.
Lockdown encouraged us to create eating spaces in our gardens, and I was drawn to the Sanctuary Gardens each with their own table and chairs to relax and entertain. I particularly enjoyed both the Finish Soul Garden and the Parsley Box Gardens in this category and would welcome an invite for dinner and a glass of wine in these spots!
Elsewhere one could buy a full kitchen for your garden! The Gaze Burvill furniture trade stand had a generous table laid out by Sarah Raven with rich colours in its use dahlias, coloured glassware; coloured candles making a welcome setting for any gathering.
Quite a modest choice, but my new plant find of the show was a white persicarias, Eastfield, which shall weave nicely around some shady areas.
I enjoyed the new container garden area. Two favourites being the serene, oak planters in the “Stolen Soul Garden” and the vibrant “Pop Street Garden”.
I thought the “Great Oaks from little Acorns grow” by Charlotte Smithson was ethereal and beautiful.
And thank you to my friend James Doran Webb for looking after my bags beneath his most amazing stallions, with the wood sourced and crafted in the Philippines.
All in all it was a wonderful, refreshing, uplifting day.