Thursday, 21 May 2009
It's showtime and what better way is there than a slideshow to give you the feeling of wandering past most of the show gardens at this year's Chelsea Flower Show. There's 25 images and I've set the change to slow so you can take it all in. If you feel you need more time, then just hover your mouse over the image to stop the pages turning. I've mixed the larger show gardens with the smaller, more intimate courtyard and urban gardens because we also dotted about a bit during our viewing.
I've not included all of the gardens as some are saved for future posts or I don't have a decent image to show you. All the gardens can be viewed here, together with planting plans, interviews with some of the designers and a whole lot more. I've deliberately not given you the awards* either - it's up to you to make up your minds. H and I often differed - one of the great things about going to a show with someone else is the intense discussions you have about what's on view - and we frequently wondered why a garden had received a particular award. All the Best in Show gardens are here, but I've not showed you my favourite one yet - that deserves a delicious post all to itself.
As I said yesterday, some of the gardens failed to live up to the promise I thought they had on paper: I felt this was particularly true of The Cancer Research UK Garden - the ball focal point was utterly awful - bring back Cleve West's version from last year please! Conversely I couldn't make sense of the the back of fag packet like sketch for the Foreign and Colonial Garden, but I was pleasantly surprised by the real thing. I was also struck by how the TV changes perspective - there the large show gardens seem smaller and the courtyard/urban gardens larger somehow. The amount of information available for each garden also differed: from a small page not really giving much more than the garden's title and the designer's name, to the paving slab of information handed out by Marshalls. The designers of one of the gardens had a couple of very nice recipes specially concocted for the show - I'll leave you to guess which one that was.
We'll take a stroll round the Great Pavilion tomorrow :)
* = for those of you who don't know, the awards are gold, silver gilt, silver, bronze and no award. The garden is judged by its delivery according to the designer's own brief, plus the standard of construction and planting. Thus the garden competes against itself rather than against all the other gardens in its category: if all gardens are at gold standard (unlikely), then all the gardens will achieve gold and so on. The only 'competitive' element is the award for Best Show Garden, plus Best Courtyard and Best Urban Garden. This year there were also awards for Most Creative garden in the Show and Urban garden categories - I'm not sure if these have been awarded before - does anyone know? And BTW what's happened to the Chic garden category?