Gardening Magazine

Chelsea Flower Show 2014

By David Marsden @anxiousgardener

I’d never been to the Chelsea Flower Show before.  The thought of large crowds blocking what I want to see has always put me off.  That and being pestered by celebrities.  But when I was offered the opportunity to go, I snatched it with both hands and felt pompously important with my Press Pass.  (I needn’t have, virtually everyone else had one too).

Here is just a little of what I saw on my big day out.

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Of the Show Gardens, I particularly liked Cleve West’s ‘The M&G Garden’.  There is a similar area of gravel at the Old Forge (one of the gardens I work in) which I have recently started to plant.

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There were plenty of ideas here for me to filch and use.

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The pleached limes in ‘The Telegraph Garden‘ were magnificent.

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I’ve tried to convince the Priory owner to let me plant some.  Hopefully I’ve just won my argument.

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The ‘Laurent-Perrier Garden‘ was cool and alluring on a scorching hot May day.

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What might have proved insipid was actually very effective: a combination of yellows, whites and pale blue.  And green.

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This stream of irises by Hugo Bugg caught my eye too.  Though he and his pals could have moved out of shot.

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The Topiarist’s Garden

Generally, I preferred the smaller Artisan Gardens -

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DialAFlight Potter’s Garden

they seemed more intimate and less monied; less corporate HQ.  And they seemed to attract less media attention – which suited me fine.

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And the ‘Potter’s Garden’ had somewhere cosy to sit with a mug of earl gray on a drizzly afternoon.  A must for any garden design.

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I loved ‘Togenkyo’ (also in the Artisan Gardens) where the acers were on fire (not literally)

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whilst Viking Cruises ‘Norse Garden‘ was almost chilly in comparison.

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And it featured a sight you don’t often see: a viking in full battle gear … with a plastic watering can.

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Marching delphiniums

But it was the show tent where I truly became absorbed (and spent most of my day).

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I was absorbed by plants mostly, like these aliums; but sometimes simply by a quite marvelous hat.

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Personally, it was interesting which displays drew me in and which I passed with hardly a glance (sorry hyacinths, sorry veg).

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I’m rubbish at growing sarracenias – this is how it’s done.

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A life long fascination with ferns had me enthralled by Rickards Ferns, and I spent an age mouthing unpronounceable names.

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Agapanthus is another favourite

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as are cacti.  I idly wondered whether these were fake

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such was their perfection.

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An acer stand is always going to reel me in and I’ve feverishly scribbled down the name of this one with its finely cut leaves: Acer linearilobum ‘Scolopendrifolium’.

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Hostas have started doing it for me too.

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There were such a huge variety; from the large leafed

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to the dainty.

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I spent an unseemly amount of time with the auriculas of Drointon Nursery.

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I stood, hugging my arms and rocking, until people stopped to stare.  I feel another collection coming on.

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A flowering dogwood not even part of the show. Just quietly looking gorgeous in a backwater of the ground

A particular highlight for me yesterday was meeting a babble/a broadside/a blather/a verbosity of bloggers – whatever the collective noun might be.  (Please feel free to add your own suggestion).  This was a first for me: chatting and laughing with people who write blogs.  Some of them I’ve known for several years ‘online’ so it was a little strange to meet them for real.  And do you know what?  They were all perfectly friendly, jolly nice and relatively normal.

Odd isn’t it?  I travel all that way and didn’t return with one plant.  Just some new friends.

oooOOOooo

The garden bloggers I met were:

Alison (The Blackberry Garden)

Celia (Purple Podded Peas)

Harriet (Whichford Pottery)

Helen (The Patient Gardener)

Mark and Gaz (Alternative Eden)

You may wish to read their accounts of Chelsea 2014.


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