RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2022
So the Chelsea Flower Show was back to May and it doesn't seem 5 minutes ago I was wandering the September event (instead of May 2021 it was September 2021 due to the pandemic). Back to the Lupins and Geums of the Great Hospital grounds by the River Thames. The smallest of the shows packs a flowery punch thats for sure. It is fair to say I do enjoy the press day where there are far less crowds and there is an actual chance of standing and observing the incredible show gardens. I genuinely feel honoured to be able to attend and celebrity spot! It's a true feast of creativity, ingenuity, skill and knowledge. From the gardens to the floral pavilion, all bathing in plants.
I've always left with a slight unease after visiting Chelsea. Yes the gardens are mostly unobtainable, yes there is a huge amount of money in the gardens and the cost of the tickets but my love of plants overrides it all. This year though, I felt much more ease. The small space and balcony gardens were in a prominent position and there was a huge focus both at the show and in the press on the houseplant area where glitter balls sparkled on fungi filled cocktail glasses and Monsteras had their own plant spa. Is Chelsea becoming more accessible? I believe so!
I loved the silver medal winning 'With Love' Perennial Garden designed by Richard Miers, for the stunning design, beautiful trees and neon sign! Genuinely thrilled the garden won the Peoples Choice Award in their category.
Another garden I thoroughly enjoyed was in the floral pavilion. Mothers for Mothers had an incredible design that really captivated me. Named 'This too shall pass' Pollyanna Wilkinson the designer won a silver medal (I honestly don't know what you have to do to get a gold!) and the peoples choice award. Seems the public want something different to the judges.
I really admired all of the balcony gardens and having a balcony myself it was great to see the designers showing us what can be achieved high up in the clouds. My particular favourite was The Cirrus Garden By Jason Williams (The Cloud Gardener) not least because it totally matched my outfit but because I love spaces with bright colours and he also had Dandelions!
Stand out products for me has to be Emma Britton Decorative Glass Designer for her incredibly talented nature based designs. One day I will have one of her bespoke splash backs and Dahlia Beach who has burst onto the horticultural scene with her curated Dahlia boxes.
When it comes to plants, there were so many! It's tricky to pick a favourite but the RHS Plant of the Year winner was the x Semponium 'Destiny' which is a cross between an Aeonium and Sempervivum, making it a much more hardy outdoor plant and paves the way for more breeding. If you are lucky you might get yourself one from Surreal Succulents before they sell out!
Did I spot a trend? Well...as you would expect...lots of planting for wildlife, wildflowers and countryside style which was a pleasure to see.
Chelsea is expensive, but its worth it. And yes the larger gardens are mostly unobtainable but if you take just one piece of inspiration from the show and everything it has to offer - a new plant, an idea for your garden, a little more knowledge or just a fun day out - it's totally worth it. The amount of work that goes into that show is phenomenal and I am super pleased it's starting to reach more audiences.