With the sun finally here to stay in the capital, there’s never been a better time to explore London in Bloom! We’re sharing photos of our recent escapades at Chelsea Flower Show and in Belgravia for afternoon tea with a twist. These charming London areas have never looked lovelier…
Chelsea in Bloom
Chelsea Flower Show officially marks the start of the UK social season, and thankfully the weather usually seems to perk up around this time. I really enjoyed visiting the flower show last year so was excited to see what they had come up with this year. We made our way to the flower show via Sloane Square where the shops have put on an impressive floral display of their own as part of #Chelseainbloom Floral Safari. There were some quirky giraffes outside Rag & Bone and another colorful one in front of Kiki McDonough’s boutique.
Chelsea Flower Show 2017
Weaving through the throngs of people inside RHS Chelsea Flower Show, we admired the elaborate trade stands including this cute topiary display.
This driftwood horse by James Doran Webb also caught my eye…
I couldn’t resist climbing up to this tree house made from kebony wood by BlueForest. There was a surprise inside – you can see down to the ground via a circular glass peep hole!
We enjoyed looking at the RHS Photographic Competition winning entries too. They go on tour to the RHS Gardens for the first time ever this year, and can be viewed at Rosemoor in Devon in July, Harlow Carr in Yorkshire in August, Hyde Hall in Essex in September and Wisley in Surrey during the month of October.
Among the Show Gardens, the Morgan Stanley Garden was one of my favourites and it scooped a silver-gilt medal. After the show, the whole garden will be donated to the Groundwork charity, to benefit 3 East London community schemes.
We were also impressed by the Silk Road Garden from Chengdu in China. The red blades represent the mountains in Sichuan Province, whilst the colourful peonies and rhododendrons were a joy to behold.
Floral Afternoon Tea at COMO The Halkin
As part of Belgravia in Bloom, a six day floral festival in Belgravia from 22-27 May, I was invited to afternoon tea with a difference at COMO The Halkin. The Belgravia in Bloom theme this year is children’s books, so COMO The Halkin have designed a tribute to Paddington Bear.
Don’t you just love these Wellington boots!
The amazing floral arrangements outside the hotel and in the lobby have been created by In Water Flowers. The Halkin is located on a discreet road in Belgravia. It’s surprisingly quiet considering how close it is to Hyde Park Corner. This week, Paddington Bear shaped cookies will be available in the Halkin Bar too.
The floral theme continues with the recently launched Ametsa Afternoon Tea, including floral gin cocktails and flower inspired desserts. Designed by Michelin starred chef Sergi Sanz in collaboration with award-winning Sipsmith gin, the cocktails are very photogenic. I chose the Berry Caipirinha, which was a delightful fruity blend of Sipsmith Dry Gin, cachaca and raspberry purée.
My friend Rosana went for the Eldorado, which was an appropriately golden colour, being a tasty combination of saffron infused gin, Lillet Blanc and St. Germain elderflower liquor.
We really enjoyed the Basque themed savouries – the original Ametsa in San Sebastian is famous for its Michelin starred Spanish cuisine and this tea certainly lives up to their reputation. First up was a refreshing sweetcorn soup with Txangurro, a mix of crab, onion and tomato, and a distinctive green pea cuajada curd.
Next up were duck and shallot skewers, crispy ham croquettes, Idiazabal cheese sandwich with onion chutney and broken eggs on waffle – my favourite being the tender duck. Certainly makes a change from the usual cucumber sandwiches!
There was a good choice of black, herbal and green teas, all by JING Tea. I opted for the lemon and ginger as I’m trying to shake off a cold, and was pleased to see that it was real lemon and ginger in the teapot rather than a teabag. Our floral themed desserts were very innovative, with a “dropped” rice pudding cone, a surprising parsnip cob, quince balls, and orange toast with spinach.
The pear and strawberry consommé and the emerald chocolate were the highlight for me, and the tempura rose petals set them off beautifully. All in all, a fitting end to our London in Bloom adventures! Afternoon tea is available every day from 2.30 to 5 pm at COMO The Halkin, for £32 per person or £36 with a glass of cava or a Sipsmith cocktail.
Do you have green fingers or are you more of a backseat gardener like me?