Monday, May 19, 2008

Chelsea: the REAL flower show

The show gardens at the Chelsea Flower Show may be spectacular, but for lots of people (including me) the really mouth-watering part of the whole extravaganza is inside the Great Pavilion (what used to be the marquee). This is where you'll find the nurserymen and women who represent absolutely the finest Britain has to offer in terms of horticulture.
Whether you're in search of bulb specialists, such as Avon, Broadleigh or Blom, or herb experts, such as Jekka McVicar, or roses or grasses, it is worth looking through the list of exhibitors (see link). Unfortunately, the RHS doesn't take you to their websites, but at least if you know the name, you can Google them. These guys really know their stuff and, thanks to the internet, most of them now sell online which makes wonderful plants available to all of us.
The trouble with a gardening blog is that, until someone invents the Scenternet, one can't really do justice to the smell of a wonderful flower show: that mixture of roses and sweetpeas and lilies and damp grass and earth. So you'll have to use your imagination when it comes to fragrance. But I've posted some pictures below that hopefully give you some idea of the sort of thing that is on show.
From the top, they are: alliums and eremurus from Devine Nurseries, Hollym, East Yorkshire; lupins from Westcountry Nurseries, Bideford, Devon; herbs from Jekka's Herb Farm, Alveston, Bristol; clematis from Sheila Chapman Clematis, Romford, Essex

I have to admit, when confronted with displays like these, I wish I'd studied photography, as the combination of me and a digital camera fails to do justice to their gorgeousness. But here are three more, just to show I tried. From the top, grasses from Knoll Gardens, Wimborne, Dorset; hostas from Bowden Hostas, Okehampton, Devon; alpines from D'Arcy and Everest, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire