The Spirit of Chelsea

My trip to London last Friday is the first time I've returned to the city so soon after the demise of Chelsea Flower Show. However, I found some tiny echoes which shows the 'spirit of Chelsea' isn't quite dead... yet.

Some of the shops in and around Sloane Square are still sporting their 'alternative Chelsea Flower Show' displays, such as the above cottagey cum meadow I found outside a shoe shop...

... whilst its next door neighbour was sporting something 'quite refined'.

At Sloane Square Tube Station (the one closest to Chelsea), the greenery in the entrance area was sporting the name of this year's show sponsors. I don't know if they or the RHS provided this display. Meanwhile...

...the tiling at platform level and rather sad box ball forms a more permanent reminder of the station's horticultural connections.

I also poked my camera through the railings on Chelsea Embankment down Main Avenue. The grass at the front of the picture is close to where Diarmuid Gavin's garden was and the brown soil you can see in the middle of the left hand side was the site of the B&Q garden. As you can see preparations for the next event are already well under way and the 'spirit of Chelsea' there will soon be just a memory.

However, in reality the 'spirit of Chelsea' isn't really an echo or a memory. It's embodied in the form of the many Chelsea pensioners I saw on Chelsea Barrack Road on Friday. They'd cast aside their bright red dress uniforms we see at the Flower Show and were in their everyday navy blue with a thin red stripe down the trousers. I spotted them making their way to the local Tesco Express down the road from the The Royal Hospital Chelsea for their day's supplies.

What's your favourite memory from this year's show?


  1. Chelsea is still on my wish list - it's a long way down from Scotland! By coincidence I've just been reading in Beth Chatto's 'Garden Notebook' about her preparations for Chelsea. It makes me want to go even more.

  2. Linda - I hope you make it down to Chelsea one day, perhaps as part of a longer holiday? Beth Chatto revolutionised the way plants are exhibited at Chelsea. She pioneered showing them in a naturalistic manner, so most of what we see in today's displays is down to her :)


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