Chelsea Flower Show is considered by many to be the most prestigious flower show in the world and for Chelsea Flower Show 2016, there are some particularly impressive show gardens. Perhaps the most striking sight, however, is 5000 Poppies.
This tribute to servicemen and women was designed by Phillip Johnson, Lynn Berry and Margaret Wright and created with the help of many volunteers after being launched on Remembrance Day in Australia in 2013. It incorporates over 300,000 handmade poppies! The Queen also visited it on the day that I was there and no doubt she was taken with it too.
For her 90th birthday, there are some lovely tributes to the Queen too, including this cut-away floral sculpture in the Great Pavilion.
There were quite a few interesting floral displays in this area, including some spectacular headdresses…
As well as this colourful peacock.
The sun was shining though so I rapidly headed outside to the show gardens. My favourite was probably the Harrods British Eccentrics Garden designed by Diarmuid Gavin and a Silver Gilt medal winner. Not only does it have a cute wooden house but the conifers actually rotate every quarter of an hour! Chatting to one of the Chelsea Pensioners was the icing on the cake. As I said to him, he didn’t look old enough to be a pensioner!
The Brewin Dolphin Garden raises awareness of the fragility of our chalk streams – there are only 200 in the world, with most of them being in the South of England. Designed by Rosy Hardy, this Silver medal winner enables the visitor to walk through a dry chalkstream bed towards its source.
The Cloudy Bay Garden is a place after my own heart ;-). It’s inspired by their 30 year wine-making heritage and scooped a Silver Gilt medal. Heathers, grasses and pines all contributed to the sense of serenity.
The LG Smart Garden, also a Silver Gilt winner demonstrates how technology can be used in a garden and incorporates elements of Scandinavian design.
Chelsea also have an interesting category, the Fresh Gardens, which take important ideas and use attention-grabbing design. I really liked the Imperial Garden. With a serious theme exploring the relationship between the UK, Russia and Ukraine it uses “metal lace” to create a sense of harmony, uniting the two different areas in the garden. There’s a beautiful bronze statue, River of Time, made by Ukrainian sculptor Victoria Chichinadze.
I also admired these elegant swans, who by the look of it, were also enjoying the sunshine.
It was interesting to see the difference with Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, also organised by the RHS, which covers a larger geographical area and is held in July each year. Tickets to this are generally easier to purchase so it’s a great show if you’ve missed out on Chelsea Flower Show tickets this year. Close to the show on Sloane Square and Duke of York Square, there are some fun activities taking place that are open to all. Celebrating Chelsea in Bloom, they include complimentary rickshaw rides to see the floral displays in local stores.
There are some quite spectacular designs on show.
I finished my visit with a specially themed Chelsea in Bloom cocktail at The Botanist on Sloane Square with the lovely Mina from Kings Road Rocks. She knows the area like the back of her hand! RHS Chelsea Flower Show – 24-28 May 2016.
I hope that you enjoyed this virtual tour of Chelsea Flower Show and I’d love to know which is your favourite garden?