While we often moan about the crowds around the Sloane Square tube station, the congested pavements and restaurants, the lack of parking spaces through the neighbourhood, and the closure of the Royal Hospital grounds for months, we really do love the Chelsea Flower Show. It’s a week of pure magic when an empty field is transformed into dozens of the most beautiful, creative, downright ingenious gardens in the world. And the entire Sloane Square neighbourhood celebrates with floral displays that rival the show gardens in the Chelsea in Bloom festival.
With a warm breeze and a clear blue sky on Wednesday evening, we set off to feast our eyes (and nose) at this year’s Show. We took along our monogrammed Ibiza Clutch, the perfect summer accessory. The Ibiza Clutch is a handwoven palm leaf bag that sits neatly in your hand, or tosses happily in your tote bag. We monogrammed ours with a shadow font in two shades of green in Flower Show spirit. And off we went.
Have a look at our favourite spots at the Show...
The Show Gardens
We watched the television coverage of these design pinnacles earlier this week, but there’s nothing like seeing them in person. Particularly in the evening, when the crowds have headed home and there’s just the sound of gardener’s hoses, distant laughter from jubilant exhibitors winding down for the night, and birdsong.
We were incredibly inspired by Breast Cancer Now’s Through the Microscope Garden with its microscope-like sculpture, cell-like art and pink-themed plantings.
The Welcome to Yorkshire Garden, with the sound of seagulls and ocean waves rolling across pebbles, was evocative. Maybe the experience was aided by the weather, but we were transfixed by this garden and felt miles away from Chelsea while staring through the gate in the distance.
We are BBC Radio 2 listeners in the morning, so it was nice to see the Feel Good Taste Garden which Chris Evans has been talking about all week. This is our idea of kitchen garden heaven. We want one just like this.
The Artisan Gardens
All of these small, quirky gardens are lovely and perhaps resonate more than the grand Show gardens, as they are on a scale that Londoners can appreciate. We particularly liked the Commonwealth War Grave Commision Centenary Garden for its peaceful orderliness and the ability to, literally, reflect quietly.
And, of course, we’re always on side with the horse lovers so the World Horse Welfare garden touched our heart and soul.
The Floral Pavilion
It’s the biggest marquee in the world (for all we know…) filled with the most beautiful plant specimens in the world. Breathe deep in here, it’s heavenly.
The displays are elaborate, elegant and inspiring, with so many varieties of each plant and flower. It makes the imagination run wild wondering how all these flowers were made to bloom so perfectly for this week, against the natural order of things for many of them.
We had such fun at the floral photo frame. Genius!
David Austen’s roses did not disappoint. Walking through this stand makes all your problems melt away in an intoxicating haze of rose-scented air.
We even crashed the David Austin tea party. It looked too good to refuse.
What a treat to see and smell the new-for-2017 Judy Dench rose. Like Dame Judy’s work, this rose is as good as it gets. The scent is beyond description and the colour so extraordinarily beautiful.
At Chelsea, it's often difficult to tell where the show gardens stop and the shops begin. The effort made by the shopkeepers and craftsmen/women is often just as Herculean as the gardeners. We left with a long wish list of things that we absolutely must have in our large grassy garden. When we have one. One day.
Starting with lots of furniture and gorgeous cushions…
From there, moving on to the glass house...
And of course, we’ll need larger-than-life garden sculpture...
And some antique carved stone...
And a driftwood horse...
At this point, our feet were tired and our senses exhausted, so we headed towards home. We left full of ideas, inspiration, admiration and champagne. We’re already looking forward to next year’s show.