Anticipating Chelsea

Chelsea might be pruned and credit crunched but I'm still going for my first taste of the big one with my friend H tomorrow. I've been poring over the catalogue the past few days to make sure we get the best out of our day. If this is a smaller Chelsea, I dread to think what a 'full' one must be like, it looks huge as it is. I believe we're going to have to run round in order to see it all.

Now Chelsea does have its detractors and I agree with a lot of what's been said, but I also have to say it's pretty much the only time when gardening gets plenty of coverage and makes headline news. Yes, the amounts spent on some of the show gardens can be obscene, but I was impressed at how Cleve West's show garden last year helped to raise awareness of Alzheimer's and dementia, a subject that's now rather painfully close to my heart as is the lack of decent gardens at most care homes. I've also nicked used a few ideas from the show gardens over the years, so I think it's about time to experience Chelsea for myself.

So what am I looking forward to? There's quite a bit on public planting this year with Nigel Dunnett's Future Nature and Marshall's Living Street show gardens. I'm particularly hoping to talk to Nigel as I believe as his kind of planting is just what Chippenham needs. I haven't been able to resist having a snigger at one of the show gardens being sponsored by a brand of loo paper, so I'm curious to see how this one turns out. A plasticine show garden is bound to set the tongues wagging too. In The Great Pavilion I'm hoping to bump into Jekka McVicar and the lovely Raymond Evison. Birmingham City Council also have a stand in there and seeing I walked past the parks department providing this display every day for 7 years on the way to school, I'm intrigued to see what they'll come up with. Blogging buddies are set to be there both in official and visiting capacities, so I'm hoping to meet up with some of them too.

As Malvern showed so well, one of the great strengths of blogging is the immediate and very different perspectives presented by several people, thus giving us a much more rounded coverage of the event. It's no different with the build-up to Chelsea. So far Graham Rice has previewed most of the plants to be launched at the show; Victoria has looked at some of the show gardens; Cleve West tells of his experiences of the build-up sans show garden for a change, Claire Potter shares her first experience of a Chelsea show garden build and James has a pot pourri of predictions. The RHS and the BBC websites also have extensive coverage. No doubt we'll also get lots of reports from the show itself over the next few days.

For those of you visiting Chelsea or glued to the coverage on the telly, Martyn Cox has thoughtfully provided a celebrity bingo card for some fun and games this week. I suspect the TV watchers will have an easier time of it, but I'll be looking out for some paparazzi style photo opportunities to go with mine plus my reports from the show ;)


  1. Hope you have a great time and the ain holds off.

  2. VP

    Have a lovely time at Chelsea. It is many years since I visited I was rather pu off by the crowds. Having in recent years found Hampton Court flower show is easier to move round and handy for where I live I tend to chhose this rather than Chelsea.

    I was a bit dissapointed with the coverage on bBC last night but then I suppose they have to cover all tastes. As I am into Cottage style gardenig this is a bit out of favour at most shows these days although there are isolated pockets of planting in many gardens.

  3. Your comment about Alzheimer's raised bells with me.

    During my research on Lyme Disease I came across Judith Miklossy's research. She is years before her time and has done research on the affect of infections, bacterial and viral on Alzheimer's patients.

    Knowing what I know about the polarised debate on Lyme Disease and the fact that HPA (follow IDSA guidelines whilst dismissing thousands of research articles supporting ILADS guidelines) says that there are not many Lyme Disease cases in UK.
    One doctor whose son has been bed ridden for more than a year with serious neurological symptoms but is now playing sport and back at school said to me that it was a 'medical scandal but one that would take years for medicine to accept.'

    So back to Miklossy her research on Lyme borrelia was dismissed because it was thought Alzheimer's was in areas that were not endemic for borrelia. Well in UK there are ticks in the Natural History museum which have DNA of Borrelia dating to 1900. How many people go undiagnosed? The 2000 patients I am in touch with through Eurolyme rather indicate it is not so rare . If doctors don't look they won't find.

    You can see I do go on about this illness sorry.

    Read Miklossy (link on my Blog) and give her treatment suggestions serious consideration.

  4. Have a great time - and I hope it stays dry for you!
    I've put off going to Chelsea as I don't much like huge crowds (- being short means I don't get to see much other than other people's backs!) so I'll look forward to your report on the show - no pressure!:)

  5. Hi VP, knowing your skills at description, we will await your reports. Do tell all! Lots of photos would be nice too. This is on my to do list before my time is up, but reading about it on your blog will be the next best thing. An honest portrayal. :-)

  6. Oh, VP! Have a marvelous time! And what fun for us to be able to "attend" vicariously, thanks to your followup report(s). Like Frances, I'm looking forward to the next installment!

  7. Thinking I may need to tag along if you go again next year - feeling left out.

    I already love the Laurent Perrier garden - in particular the bit with peonies, irises, grasses etc - if you can get me a photo would be grateful

    Have a great time.

  8. Have a fabulous day, and I hope the weather is kind to you.

    I missed the BBC coverage, last night, and couldn't find it on the red button which usually has fab coverage. Perhaps the Beeb has downsized too?

  9. If I lived locally (say, in England) I would go, even though the lyrics "I don't want to go to Chelsea" by Elvis Costello are now stuck in my head!

  10. Have a great time and make sure you get lots of hits for celebrity bingo!
    Photographic evidence will be required.

  11. have fun! is it true that a gnome has sneaked into chelsea?! & what's wrong with gnomes?

  12. Oh lucky you VP :) I am sure that you will enjoy whatever the weather. Browsing the catalogue
    beforehand certainly helps you focus on what you really want to see and the rest is a bonus. I would love to see a photo of Jekka McVicar's stand. I was reading at the weekend that this her last Chelsea so what excellent timing on your behalf !

  13. Watcha VP - I'm sure you will have a grand old time - and do not worry, the show is actually a lot smaller than it seems on paper, so you will not wear out many shoes...let us know how you find it all, what makes you fizz and what makes you go 'oh dear, not that old hat again'...
    have a good'un, and I can recommend the felafel stand for lunch. X

  14. Have a wonderful time, VP! Really looking forward to the Chelsea blog posts.

  15. Have a good time! I've been twice and have to say that overall I was disappointed, mainly as it was far too crowded rather than the bad weather! xx

  16. I now feel hopelessly disorganised. I haven't got a catalogue to browse through in advance and I seem to have missed all the preview programmes, articles and blogs. If you spot a directionless woman looking slightly dazed - that's me!

    BTW - I survived the Moonwalk, but I was rather questioning my own sanity when the birds started singing, the sun came up and I realised I still had 12 miles to walk...

  17. Have a wonderful time, VP! I've only read about the Chelsea show, but like Frances, this is on my "bucket list." For now, I'll visit it vicariously through you--looking forward to reading all about the show.

  18. VP - I've just posted a post on Esther's Boring Garden Blog about how you may react when you see my front garden. (Or, rather, how I would react if I were you!) Hope this is ok and that it amuses you. If not, let me know and I'll change it.


  19. Hi everyone - thanks for your good wishes and as you know by now I had a great time. Sorry it's taken a while for me to catch up with my comments from when I was away.

    Joanne - thanks for the information - I'll have a look at it properly when I get back from holiday.

    Dawn - congratulations on your Moonwalk! I saw loads of women making their way to London from both Cardiff and Bath on Saturday.

    Petoskystone - yes gnomes have been one of the more controversial aspects of Chelsea and even spoke to the person involved about it! My Great Pavilion post has a link to the article she wrote about the whole thing and it even made Have I Got News For You (topical comedy news quiz on the telly) last night!

    Esther - that post is great - I really enjoyed it. But you needn't worry on how I'll react you know - I'm just looking forward to seeing you :)


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