An Afternoon at the Chelsea Flower Show

By Londonist Last edited 108 months ago
An Afternoon at the Chelsea Flower Show
Inside the Great Pavilion
Inside the Great Pavilion
Bansai!
Bansai!
Floral hat
Floral hat
Ace of Spades show garden
Ace of Spades show garden
The main promenade
The main promenade
Quilted Velvet show garden
Quilted Velvet show garden
Fenland Alchemist courtyard garden
Fenland Alchemist courtyard garden

For all of us with a black thumb, the idea of spending an entire day viewing plants might not sound entirely appealing. However, the Chelsea Flower Show, hosted by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), is not your grandmother’s gardening show. We were lucky enough to stop by on Wednesday afternoon and experience a complete sensory overload.

More like an art exhibit trapped in Alice’s Wonderland, the flower show offers an impressive display of creativity, design, and talent. In the Great Pavilion, which holds well over 100 exhibits, visitors can find hats made out of flowers, towers of orchids, and green pathways that would make The Secret Garden’s Mary Lennox proud. Outdoors is the infamous Paradise in Plasticine show garden (fully intact with a plasticine spider and snail), as well as the Perfume Garden where we discovered which ingredients were used in Elizabeth I’s favourite perfume. Not to be missed was the Floral Design Marquee, which offers stunning arrangements in three categories: ‘Treasures of the Garden’, ‘Thoroughly Modern’, and ‘Let’s Celebrate’. The latter category included an eye-catching homage to the collapse of the Berlin Wall. The show also features futuristic gazebos, rustic sheds, and fantasy playgrounds.

Overall the event was highly enjoyable, with the exception of having to fight through massive hoards of senior citizens in order to catch a better glimpse of the show gardens. This was remedied by an ice cream break by the band stand while ‘Diamonds are Forever’ played. The Flower Show ends tomorrow and is being held at the Royal Hospital. Visit the RHS website for pictures, award winners, and to vote in the People’s Choice Awards.

Words by Caroline Dickie, photos by Susan Dickie.

Last Updated 23 May 2009