Tag Archives: Chelsea flower show

Bringing Chelsea Gold Home


It’s magnificent!

The florist, “Daisy Chain”, is opposite where I work and I was pleasantly surprised two years ago, to come face to face with a floral, crystal ballgown, straight from the show. Helena had won silver-gilt with her gorgeous creation.

A Chelsea Ball gown with a crystal theme.

A Chelsea Ball gown with a crystal theme.

The following year, she achieved another silver-gilt, for her “Alice in Wonderland” tree.u

Unfortunately, I didn’t have the pleasure of appreciating that one close up. It was far too big to bring into the shop.

Still not good enough, though – she was after her gold.


And now she has it with her beautiful carnival headdress!

When you get to see it in the flesh, so to speak, you can really see the intricate detail and the hours of work involved.



Orchids, dianthus, grevillea, and anigozan (kangaroo paw) are among the flowers used, set into a wire framework, filled out with red feathers and beads. Looking closely at the “horns” shows tiny green “pearls” wound around, which are actually the succulent, Senecio rowelyanus, or “string of pearls” plant, which she grew herself.  Really a work of art, well deserving of a gold!A real feather in Helena’s cap! (Groan!! Sorry!)

So is she happy now? Had enough?

No, she’s now going for “Best Floral Exhibit”.

Can’t wait to see how Helena does next year!

Helena wasn’t our only local Chelsea gold.

John Massey and Ashwood nursery also got, not just a gold medal, but also a Diamond Jubilee award, for their display of Hepaticas, in the floral pavilion.


It’s been a most successful Chelsea for our local exhibitors.

Congratulations, and well done!

P.s. I apologise for any disruption in this broadcast. I inadvertently published this post before I had completed it. So sorry!

A Chelsea exhibit – face to face!

A Chelsea Ball gown with a crystal theme.

A Chelsea Ball gown with a crystal theme.

Isn’t it beautiful? It certainly brightened up my working day!

I often nip into the florist over the road, when I have some time to spare, before work. Apart from floristry flowers, they sell plants too – usually the run of the mill bedding etc. but often unusual and reasonably priced specimens.

But today, while checking out their gardening requisites, I came face to face with this beautiful floral ball gown. Now, my immediate reaction was “Is this a homage to Chelsea?”, to be told by one of the girls that she had actually been there and this was her exhibit – somewhat faded by now, she was quick to point out. As you can see, the official R.H.S. plaque is by it. She had been awarded a silver-gilt! She had been so excited by the whole thing but obviously extremely nervous. I had to confess that, despite seeing the floral art coverage, I had not noticed her. I must look again.

She did let me take a photo, and was happy for me to share this, with you all!

So amazing to see one of these so close up and in detail! The hemline and shoulder “straps” were decorated with feathers, and the floral bodice, studded with crystals!

So beautiful! Well done, girl!

My thoughts on Chelsea


No, this is not part of one of the Chelsea show gardens. Since I have no photos of this year’s show, this is the next best thing to introduce this post. This is my “copy-cat” Chelsea border! You see the power of Chelsea flower show?
This small stretch of my main herbaceous border, was inspired by Luciano Giubbelei’s show garden for Laurent-Perrier in 2011, which used a colour palette of pinks and bronzes, apparently reminiscent of rose champagne. This is its second year, and is filling out nicely – definitely all froth and fizz! It has all the Chelsea hallmarks – cow parsley, bronze irises, floaty thalictrums and, of course, the purple alliums!

Which leads me into this years show! As you can tell, I’m a huge fan of Luciano (I’m not name dropping, just shortening it – Giubbelei’s a nightmare to keep spelling! Sorry, Luciano!) I was drawn to his earlier gardens which I saw in magazines, and loved all the formality and straight lines – so minimalist and contemporary (though not for a plantsman!). Since he started showing at Chelsea, he has moved on from his all-green palette, and introduced flowers, which he does so well. This years garden, in my mind, was well worthy of “Best in show”. The pool, which is central to the design, is absolutely stunning. All his straight lines are still in evidence, with the steps in the pool and the adjoining rills. The planting, again in geometric blocks, really softens all the hard landscaping. And the colours are so soft and beautiful. The tree? Well, I can boast, I too have an Amelanchier! The colour scheme really moved away from the Chelsea norm. I loved the creamy whites and yellows, with only a hint of blue, for depth and contrast. And it was good to see lupins make such a statement, after years of obscurity.

Which brings me on to my next view – that of the planting. I’m sure you’ll agree that there are always trends in Chelsea planting. One year it’s the strong shapes of purple alliums everywhere, the next it’s frothy cow parsley. I always believed that the designers were trying to “steer” gardening fashion. However, this year I have heard it mentioned, that it is more likely to be due to the limited number of plant suppliers to the show, dictating the plants available. That makes complete sense to me and could account for it.

I also liked Cleve West’s M & G garden. I loved the modern take on the Paradise gardens of old, all offset by the adjacent wilder planting – the concept of a paradise from the wilderness.

The Daily Telegraph garden was my other favourite, but it seemed to have mixed reports. Some saw it as too perfect and pristine, others saw it as too corporate. I was drawn to it, again, by its formality and straight lines. But the overwhelming factor that hit me, that seems to have produced little comment, was to see a lawn as the centrepiece of the garden for the first time in yonks! Ok, I agree that it was so pristine, that it would not stay like that for 5 minutes in the real world, and it would be high maintenance in this day and age. But didn’t it look wonderful? Although the garden is a very contemporary style, it’s also a very traditional layout. A central lawn, surrounded by borders, and a shaded patio area, complete with seating, water feature and potted plants. I can easily imagine it being a family garden, with a few daisies thrown in. And the box “cushions” at the corners were just so tactile! I found the whole garden very comfortable and usable – though I may be alone in thinking that!

The gardens again, were totally inspirational. It was lovely too, to see the flush of new, young designers this year. Didn’t they do extremely well? Matt Keightly’s garden, “Hope on the Horizon” was beautiful, with its hard granite cubes among soft planting. No surprise it was the “People’s Choice”!

And I want to finish with a few “buzz” words to some up this years trends – blue, plum, lupins. Oh, and if I hear the phrase “push the boundaries” again, before next May, you may well hear me scream!