Monday, May 21, 2012

Chelsea Flower Show 2012: finishing touches

Wandering round the Chelsea showground on the Sunday before the show opens, you are struck by the sense of focus, and attention to detail. Everywhere you look, particularly in the Great Pavilion, where the exhibitors are still building their stands, you will see expressions of intense concentration, as the nurserymen and women assess each stem, and the impact of each grouping of plants.
Outside in the show gardens, there is endless sweeping, and clipping, and tidying going on. Here's a behind-the-scenes view.

Work on the National Association of Flower Arranging Societies stand gets under way. As the saying goes, you ain't seen nothing yet.

An impromptu picnic. Many of the exhibitors bring their own food - it's quicker (and cheaper).

Decisions, decisions - mulling over the heliconias on the Barbados Horticultural Society stand.

Displays of narcissi for the Walkers Bulbs @ Taylors stand

A fabulous conflagration of lupins at Westcountry Nurseries. The yellow and purple one in the middle gives it that final zing, like a pilot light.

 Final preparations at the southern African-inspired garden for WaterAid

 L'Occitane's L'Immortelle garden. When they've finished the work, it just needs one more thing. Sunshine.

And finally, the hard-working members of the press, being entertained to tea and cake in the press tent after a long cold day by RHS director-general Sue Biggs. On the left, garden writer Val Bourne and on the right (with scarf), my colleague the lovely Anna Pavord.