RHS Chelsea Flower Show


The great thing about not having a telly in London is that when I go to the Chelsea Flower Show it all comes as a complete revelation - no BBC spoilers telling me what to expect!

So the first thing I had to do was make my way to ‘The Great Chelsea Garden Challenge’ garden - a large and important plot designed by the winner of the BBC competition, Sean Murray. He created a front garden space with room for a car, but secluded spaces too. One of our Open Learning recent graduates, Stephanie Humes, was one of only six finalists and I very much wanted to meet her. Here she is with Sean Murray - all the competitors had clearly bonded and all turned up to help Sean build his garden.

One of the most arresting gardens was that of former Brit, now Aussie, Charlie Albone - it was effectively a memorial to his recently deceased father and was beautiful in its simplicity - with its stunning round, shallow pool, able to drain in under 10 seconds. There was quite a crowd of us timing it, and tutting when it took a bit longer! You can just see in the picture the bottom of the copper sculpture representing the circle of life.

Dan Pearson's Best in Show garden was placed centre stage in the main walk - so arresting with its piles of Derbyshire stone, multi-stemmed trees, and wild areas of grasses and wildflowers. In my opinion, one of the most dramatic gardens at Chelsea in many years.

My favourite haunt at the show is the Grand Pavilion, with its masses of flower displays - everyone with a specialist interest is catered for - whether it's irises, acers, lupins, bonsai, roses, geraniums, orchids, tulips - you name, and you're bound to find it.