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Wednesday, 10 June 2009

A Crush on Chelsea?

Its not actually my thumbs that are green at the moment - I'm just generally envious after looking at photos of the Chelsea Flower Show. I've been wanting to visit Chelsea ever since I learnt how to say Chrysalidocarpus lutescens Agapanthus.

We miss-timed our holiday by a couple of weeks (in my opinion not my wife's) a few years ago while visiting the UK and back-packing around Europe, and didn't get to see any of the spectacular gardens on display. I did however, get to see a wall at the back of the Royal Hospital Grounds, as we got lost on the way to IKEA - but that's sadly as close as I've come.

I've developed this slight crush on Chelsea, because (judging from photo's only, mind you) you get to see what can be done, with a lot of imagination and similar quantities of cash. I'm sure that very few of the gardens are long-lasting, or could be easily transferred into a real-life garden. But Chelsea's gardens set a standard, and in some cases push the limits of what gardens could be in an ideal world.

So every year, I scour the internet for pictures, vicariously appreciating the gardens from 11000 miles away. But I console myself with the thought that in most cases the actuality of something isn't what you've built it up to be, and judging from my friend Viv's experience, it can be painful too.
She also wrote a story for the Times, in which she talks about how the budget's were pruned back this year, but that designers were taking a positive approach, and showing ways to garden on a small budget and recycle where possible.

I've also found some great pictures of Chelsea by Robert McMillan from Garden Focus.

So I guess another year goes by that I didn't get to visit Chelsea for myself, but so least I have those amazing ice trays from IKEA!


Russell Warne said...

Agapanthus are my worst plants ever! And that's only becasue they are a mission to pull up and move around. Very sticky. having said that, they do make for good viewing in the right kind of garden.

vivh said...

Ah, thanks for the link, Ross. You know, after battling it out with all of middle England, you'd need those Ikea ice cubes to put into a stiff drink. But I hope you get to go one day. It's a lovely event.

vivh said...

How can you not like aggies, Russell? Shame on you!

Jack Holloway said...

Ross, for your vicarious pleasure, visit the flickr pages of Nigel Burkitt, one of the great garden photographers. He keeps a low profile and few people visit his pics, but what a joy! He has Chelsea pics every year:

Must say after a single visit to Chelsea back in '95, all garden centre display gardens have been a little iffish and twee in my eyes. It's like comparing the shut lines on a 70s French car with a modern Audi!

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