A cracking Chelsea Flower Show


Chelsea Flower Show display It's a cracker! This week's Chelsea Flower Show is the best I've seen for some years. The gardens are fabulous and the plants in the huge marquee are mouthwatering.

I especially liked Claire Austin's stand of sumptuous Irises (a well deserved gold medal winner), the Help for Heroes gardens and children's veg box display on the magnificent Sunflower Street (Peter Seabrook and Steve Bradley have co-ordinated a brilliant display here this year) and the beautiful stand by Avon bulbs. I was delighted to see the QVC giant gerbera and Raymond Evison's exquisite double flowered blue clematis 'Diamantina' (which is flying out of QVC this week) both being nominated for the best new plant at Chelsea.

Once again, Cornus Venus stood out as an outstanding flowering shrub/tree and I got very excited about a new pennisetum grass on the Knoll Gardens stand. It's called Red Buttons and, aptly enough, the bright red button-like flowers are held on dainty narrow stems, which appear to float above mounds of beautiful green leaves. It's a stunner!

The weather has been pretty mixed at Chelsea this week so I was intrigued to read Paul Simon's excellent Weather Eye column in The Times, in which he mentions that in previous years the weather has been really bad.

In 1915, it rained so heavily that the whole show ground was a mud bath. In 1928, hailstones were followed by flooding and another sea of mud. But in 1935, it was even worse. They endured heavy frosts in May, followed by a snowstorm just before the show opened. And to think that I complained how hot it was when visiting the show on Monday!

Happy bank holiday gardening!

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