What a fabulous Chelsea! It’s just a shame that the wet weather has dampened the enjoyment for us all. I got soaked looking round yesterday!
It’s been a challenging growing year for the exhibitors. A warm April, which brought the flowers on, was quickly followed by this cooler May, which slowed the plants up. Despite this, the growers have pulled out all the stops and the quality of the plants is exceptionally good.
Inside the huge marquee are some fabulous displays. It was good to see many of our QVC growers here. Carolyn Whetman won a well-deserved Silver Gilt Medal for a beautiful display of cottage garden pinks, which includes the lovely, large-flowered scented Cocktail varieties that we launched on QVC in early May. Claire Austin (in the photo below), exhibiting for the first time in four years, won gold for her stunning irises and Raymond Evison won gold too for his Guernsey-bred clematis. I also loved the West Country Lupins stand (another gold medal winner, seen in the second photo below); and we’ve a special selection of these fantastic plants available to buy now.
A couple of nurseries also used Flower Power to feed their exhibition plants and I was chuffed to bits that both of these won gold too! So well done Roualeyn Nurseries for your amazing display of fuchsias, and Drointon nurseries for your incredible double-flowered auriculas.
For many, the highlights of Chelsea are the show gardens. This year there’s lots more colour and more variety than in previous seasons, they’re better than ever. I liked the Homebase garden for its lovely plant combinations, especially the orange geums, purple cirsiums and blue Iris.
My favourite was Matthew Wilson’s drought-tolerant garden for the Royal Bank of Canada which featured a zero watering section, perennial edible plants and a water tank cleverly concealed under some striking decking. The garden is being relocated by the Greenfingers charity after the show to the Mountbatten hospice on the Isle of Wight to create a special children’s garden. Liz Earle has kindly made a donation to the charity to help fund the move and I had the pleasure of meeting Liz at the show to look around the lovely garden.
One of the many pleasures of visiting Chelsea is meeting up with some of my gardening friends and I was delighted that a number of them agreed to contribute a special article for my website over the coming months. I also bumped into some of the team behind Amateur Gardening. During the summer, some of the QVC gardeners are writing special features for the magazine and to celebrate this collaboration, we’ve a special competition to win a year’s subscription to the weekly magazine. All you need to do to be in with a chance is answer the following question and pop that answer in the comments section below:
What kind of award did the West Country Lupins win?
A – Gold medal
B – Silver medal
C – Bronze medal
Good luck and happy gardening,