The RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018 - A Proper Chelsea Belter

A Proper Chelsea Belter

It was an honour and privilege to visit the RHS Chelsea Flower show on press day. It gave me a fantastic chance to get up close to the gardens and plants (and some celebs as well) and appreciate the excellence in horticulture everyone produced. And truly, it was excellent.

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RHS Chelsea Flower Show wildflowersRHS Chelsea Flower Show AuriculasRHS Chelsea Flower Show Lupins

RHS Chelsea Flower Show Alliums (Ornamental Onions)


The execution of every stand and show garden, large and small, was breathtaking. Of course, the designs varied wildly and I, like everyone else found affinity with some more than others, but thankfully that is to be expected. It was also fun to guess the medals as, and I really don't quite understand why, on a massive day where all the press are present, no one knows who has won what. Perhaps it is to maintain heightened awareness of the show?


RHS Chelsea Flower Show Plant of the Year Winner - Hydrangea Runaway Bride Snow WhiteRHS Chelsea Flower Show Plant of the Year Runner Up Eryngium 'Blue Waves'  RHS Chelsea Flower Show Plant of the Year Third Place Helianthus annus Sunbelieveable Brown Eyed Girl


But I played the game and stuck my colours to the mast on the day. I predicted with an air of certainty that Chris Beardshaw’s garden (The Morgan Stanley Garden for the NSPCC) would be awarded not only gold but best in show. Proof of my prediction can be seen on the my facebook posting - just in case you were thinking ‘Yeah right. Sure you did.’ I also said that if the garden didn’t win best in show that I would eat my hat. The next morning the results were announced. The world waited with bated breath as my prediction turned out to be true. Keep your knife and fork as my hat was safe.

For me, it was a proper traditional Chelsea belter. Shrubs, trees, herbaceous, sumptuous seating area and all designed in a way everyone could take a bit home. Not actually take it home because that would leave a rather sorry looking sight on the last day of the show, but, well, you know what I mean. Meconopsis will soon be a feature in my garden. Rhododendrons will be found space. Any structure made from cedar would be a delight.


RHS Chelsea Flower Show MeconopsisRHS Chelsea Flower Show Purple Irises

RHS Chelsea Flower Show Chrysanthemums as Planets



But it wasn’t all about Chris Beardshaw and best in show. As a native of Lancashire, it felt wrong to turn dreamy in front of the Welcome to Yorkshire garden. But I did. I couldn’t help myself. I adored the uplifting colours of the planting in the LG Eco-City Garden but commented that perhaps the building was too big for the rest of the garden. Perhaps the judges thought the same.


Welcome to Yorkshire Garden

Weclome to Yorkshire Show Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower ShowWelcome to Yorkshire Show Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show


LG Eco-City Garden

The LG Eco-City Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower ShowThe LG Eco-City Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower ShowThe LG Eco-City Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show


The David Harber and Savills Garden

The David Harber and Savills Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower GardenThe David Harber and Savills Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show


The M&G Garden

The M&G Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower ShowThe M&G Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show


The Lemon Tree Trust Garden

The Lemon Tree Trust Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower ShowThe Lemon Tree Trust Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show


The Trailfinders South African Wine Estate

The Trailfinders South African Wine Estate


The Morgan Stanley Garden for the NSPCC - Best in Show

The Morgan Stanley Garden for the NSPCC at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show

The day was terrific and if you ever think of going to the show on any of the days, I can offer up the following advice:

  • Never comment on a garden within earshot of a designer. Or any family members of the designer. At one garden, I said out loud that the planting looked a little flat. He didn’t look happy. I apologise. I do reckon the judges thought the same. The garden was awarded a bronze medal.
  • Sunglasses: wear them. The London Plane trees shed a lot of irritating guff that will sting your eyes and cause massive coughing fits in some people. The sensitive types. Only sometimes though. Thankfully not this time. You may also get mistaken for a celeb and get your photo on the front page of a tabloid newspaper.
  • Don’t stare at delphiniums when Joanna Lumley happens to be standing in front of the display. She will think you are a stalker and not a keen gardener.
  • Don’t ask Rob Brydon to do that voice you like. You know, Ronnie Corbett. Just don’t.
  • Avoid wearing new shoes. You walk a long way.
  • Do wander everywhere taking every pathway to discover visual treats. Metal poppies and other flowers en masse are delightful. I know that now. And the queues for coffee are smaller near the bandstand area.
  • And take photos. Plenty of them. Be open minded to inspiration as it will flood your gardening mind and eventually take over you own plot. And both it and you will be all the better for it. 

RHS Chelsea Flower Show field of metal poppiesRHS Chelsea Flower Show metal poppies
A cute ice cream van at the RHS Chelsea Flower ShowA coffee and bacon sarnie at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show
Flowery Wellies at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show