Flowers and sunshine at Chelsea Flower Show

I have to confess right at the start of this review that the tickets for this event were given to my husband and I, so there was no expectation about achieving value for money – tickets if purchased early enough can be as low as £27 for an afternoon here – on the day it could cost much more if the ticket touts are to be believed.

We were at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show – on one of the days where the show is open to the public – and the weather couldn’t have been any better.  Warm (but not too hot) and sunny, it was perfect for walking around and seeing everything on offer.  I have never been to the show before and had no idea what to expect – if asked, I would have said there would be a few large gardens and maybe some marquees and a few ‘stalls’ selling plants and general gardening stuff.  Wrong!!!  There were gardens but these were so much smaller than I had expected – as part of our experience we were able to visit one in particular and it didn’t take more than a couple of minutes to walk the whole perimeter.  The gardens were beautiful and the designs amazing – the garden featured as a pyramid was breathtaking and very clever.  I particularly liked the Forbidden Garden and also the M&G garden (that was the one we were able to see from the ‘inside’ so to speak).

RHS Chelsea Flower ShowThe most surprising aspect of the visit was the number of ‘stands’ you could visit, selling a myriad of merchandise – not just pot plants and seedlings but anything from clothes to water systems to statues.  These ’stands’ were well set out down tree lined avenues and – until the show got so crowded it was hard work making your way through – were a delight to visit.  

Then there was the large ‘temporary’ building, with sections covering house plants, allotments etc. – again wonderful to visit but eventually so crowded that it became too difficult to spend any time studying the different sections – there were some wonderful ideas, for example growing vegetables in a sack, but too many people wanted to circulate and it made it awkward to ‘stand and stare’.

When it came to refreshments there was an amazing choice – from the humble (but very tasty) sandwich to the luxurious – champagne and seafood – you needed deep pockets to eat at some of these places but, to be honest, it was part of the experience and well worth ‘splashing out’.

I enjoyed the whole day enormously and as I stated at the start had no expectation as the tickets were free – but I would really like to go again.  However, I would aim to arrive either at the very start of the day or for the late afternoon session (15.00 hours until close at 20.00) as it would be nicer to have time where it wasn’t too crowded – I’d even pay next time!

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Laura Ingham

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