The Chelsea Flower Show has been the most high profile flower show in the UK horticultural calendar and is as popular as ever. It was originally called the Royal Horticultural Society’s Great Spring Show, and was held in 1862, at the RHS garden in Kensington. It wasn’t until 1913 that the show moved to its current turf in the grounds of the Chelsea General Hospital. All the Show Gardens are built from scratch in just 19 days and are dismantled in only five days.
This is our second visits to the Show and this time “D” also came along with us. The day started with team assembling at Euston Station (“H” travelled from Liverpool and both “D” and me came from different parts of London.) Thunder storm, heavy showers and even hailstone were expected to the day’s weather but none of them dampened our spirits to attending the Show.
The formats and layouts of the Show was very similar to last year’s. Coming to the RHS Members’ Day seemed to enable us to move around the show ground easier (less crowds). Unlike “H” and “D”, I am not a keen gardener myself. I can’t tell what is what in our garden neither. But I am touched by the enthusiasm of “H” efforts and seeing the plants grow so well. I must admit I only know how to see these show gardens by my own ‘feel’ with space, colour, smell, shape and form. Therefore my favourite gardens do not necessary mean anything to any keen gardeners.
Third place: The Hidden Beauty of Kranji with Esmond & Uniseal
I like the tropical plants and orchid. The waterfalls add the sound and feel of Eastern culture. It really reminds me our visit to Malaysia last year.
Second place: Morgan Stanley Healthy Cities Garden
This was designed by the multi-award winning designer and TV Gardener Chris Beardshaw. Instead of simply dismantling the garden after the show, the features and some of the plants will be transferred to a local community project. Great idea!
First place: L’Occitane: A Perfumer’s Garden in Grasse
We went to Grasse few years ago where the perfume industry was vibrant but it appeared the last few years the perfume industry has been in decline and many of the traditional plantations have become overgrown. Things are improving now and this garden reminded me our visit and the plants give a very natural look and feel. It also happened that I the BBC Gardeners’ World presenter Monty Don too.”H” felt that this year’s show lacked of the wow factor from previous years. She thought they were somehow too calm. While this is “D” first visit, he found the whole experience was enjoyable. Although we couldn’t agree which show garden is the best, we did agree those three were some of the best and more importantly: we would return again next year!
After the show: Before “H” headed back to the Northwest of England, we stopped by the pub in Kings Cross and had a quick drinks before heading to dinner. We opted to Kings Cross St Pancras Renaissance Hotel Booking Office Bar but they had no seats to offer and we ended up in THE BETJEMAN ARMS the nearby. We really enjoyed their craft beer and pub food. Next we went along the main road and found a little gem, Roti King, famous for their Malaysian food. It is a tiny cafe and food was cheap but very good. After a long walk about, all three of us chose soup noodle: strong flavour, hot but not burn your mouth. Luckily we came a bit earlier than dinner time, by the time we started eating, there was a long queue and it showed its popularity. Highly recommended for people simply like good food but not care about the basic surrounding.
That’s sum up our visit to Chelsea Flower Show this year: good gardening show experience, great food and drinks, and more importantly fantastic companies!