It's May and the Chelsea Flower Show comes round again with its spectacular show gardens and amazing floral exhibits. The show (originally called The RHS Great Spring Show) started in 1862 and moved to the grounds of the Chelsea Hospital in 1913, where it has been held ever since.
Things to bleat about this year
1. Talking to Simon, from Dalefoot Compost which is made from the wool of Cheviot sheep that roam the bracken covered Lake District fells. Though we say it ourselves, wool does make as crumbly and rich a garden compost as you could want. We’ve tried it so we know. Dalefoot do a variety of mixes and will deliver to your door.
Find out more www.dalefootcomposts.co.uk
2. Chatting about the glorious clematis at Thorncroft Clematis - of which more in a future blog.
3. The plant-filled galvanized tubs on Pennard Plants stand in the marquee tell the history of allotments since the birth of the Queen in 1926. Tubs were brimful of colourful and juicy leaves, herbs and flowers. There was even a recreation of the allotments worked by Chelsea Pensioners at the Royal Hospital. Many of the plants in the display were grown in their greenhouses. This display shows that you don’t need a garden to grow food, just enough outdoor space to put a tub. An inspiration.
Pennard allotment plants at Chelsea
4. Flower Societies…. The Alpine Garden Society put on a joyous display. Members of the Society can share in the Society’s seed exchange – 5500 seeds are swapped in what is the largest seed swap in the world. Highlight: the tiny show white Saxifrages ‘Alan Hayhurst’ and ‘Symons-Jeunei’.
Alpines at Chelsea
5. Displays in the floral marquee: there are too many glorious displays to mention them all. It is, after all, our favourite place in the show… but among our favourites are:
Harperley Hall Farm Nurseries who showed some lovely arisaemas.
Harperley display at Chelsea
Hardy’s Plants – Loved the deep blue Baptisia australis, false indigo. Plus they have introduced a new pale lilac catmint Nepeta x faassenii Crystal Cloud which looks very interesting reaching 45cms. This was bred by the famous nurserywoman Sonia Wright in Wiltshire.
Hardy's new catmint at Chelsea
The Crassula collection grown by Amanda Whittaker at Hook in Hampshire which was displayed in a wheelbarrow on the Sparsholt College/ Peoples Plants stand in conjunction with Plant Heritag. Find out about gardening courses at sparsholt.ac.uk
Crassula display at Chelsea
Soaring foxgloves at the Botanic Nursery. They always do these so well.
Botanic Nursery Foxgloves
Hewitt-Cooper’s stand of Carniverous Plants
Carnivorous plants at Chelsea
Our other winner was the National Dahlia Collection which was as bold and varied and flamboyant as you could wish.
Related: What happens to the plants after Chelsea?
Visit the Saga Garden Centre to buy plants online