For me, Summer starts with the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
I attended the Press Day, the very first day of the show. When I arrived it was pouring with rain. Not that that could put me off! I’ve garnered my images of gardeners gardening in gardens for you to regard. Click on each picture to make it bigger if you like…
The first garden of call was a colourful cottage-style garden designed by Jo Thompson, it was so eye catching… and particularly handy for sheltering celebs like Raymond Blanc (seen below here sitting down in the blue jacket with Matt Baker behind him!).
I went across to ‘The Time in Between’ garden next, by Husqvarna and Gardena. It was designed to be emotive, divided into sections, celebrating the beauty of life.
So very lovely!
Pictured above is The Homebase Urban Retreat Garden in partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support. Designed as an urban community garden, it blends the structures of the urban environment with the softness of nature to show how wonderful it is when nature is incorporated into our towns.
This garden is called ‘The Hidden Beauty of Kranji’ by Esmond Landscape and Uniseal. It evokes a tropical climate (a very welcome contrast to rainy central London!) and features flowers native to Singapore. Colourful flora and fauna calmly sit against the fast rush of the waterfall.
Almost soaked to the skin, I sought cover and went into a riot of colour – The Great Pavilion at Chelsea.
My personal favourite was the Peter Beales Roses.
^ Yours truly, happily blogging among perfect roses!
If I had to single out one flower that quietly dominated Chelsea today, it was the Iris. The soubrette no more!
A collection of irises, so very pleasing for my own irises.
I can fully understand Van Gogh’s musing on these petals. Gently hypnotising.
Back outside I went to see Dan Pearson’s garden – his first Chelsea garden in 11 years – the Laurent-Perrier Chatsworth Garden. You could walk all the way round it to see the celebration of the wilder side of gardening.
It looked like it had been a permanent fixture on its spot. I was particularly interested in his philosophy behind it: his engagement with Chatsworth as a place and trying to bring the spirit of it to Chelsea.
In stark contrast is The Telegraph Garden. Designed by Marcus Barnett, it is inspired by the relished memories of an Essex childhood and Mondrian’s art work. Gardening on a grid that relishes in its innate geometry: dramatic hard lines softened by white Digitalis with the sound of clear water gushing passed.
‘The Cloudy Bay Garden in association with Vital Earth’ was so very peaceful and tranquil.
Sir Tim Rice looked like he was having fun!
L’Occitane, a favourite beauty brand of mine, sponsored a garden called ‘A Perfumer’s Garden in Grasse’:
It was most fragrant today at Chelsea, briefly transporting onlookers to the South of France, opening our senses to new, perfectly perfumed paths far away from damp London.
Although if I had to choose a favourite, it has to be this one:
‘The Morgan Stanley Healthy Cities’ Garden designed by Chris Beardshaw.
Feast your eyes! An Elysian garden paradise.
Sublime. It must get a gold medal tomorrow.
Thankfully it’s going to be moved to Poplar in East London, so the beauty will be sustained.
Another fantastic gold medal worthy garden was the ‘Sentebale – Hope in Vulnerability’ a South African themed garden (pictured above). Sentebale is the charity that was co-founded by Prince Harry. The garden was designed by Matt Keightley.
I had such a great day. I’ll put some more pictures up tomorrow!