Chelsea Flower Show

I have been involved twice at the Chelsea Flower Show with Nick Williams Ellis, winning a Silver medal for the Jurassic Coast Garden, and a Gold and Best in Courtyard  for the Edible Playground.  To compete on the world stage along with gardeners from as far away as New Zealand, South Africa and Japan was an exhilarating experience and one that I intend to repeat soon, given half a chance.


Gardening at Chelsea is more theatre than reality but every year there are one or two things that inspire a new design idea. The latest Chelsea fashions come and go as designers switch from heathers to grasses, from formal to informal, from hot to cool flower colours and from contemporary to traditional.  These fashions do gradually filter down into real life and, along with the continuous introduction of new materials, can inspire something new and eye catching.


Years ago a great gardening friend told me of his own method of judging the Show Gardens, having become a little disillusioned with the vagueness of the RHS judges.  He simply decided his winner on the basis of which garden he would most like to sit within and read a book. I have used the same method ever since and it has helped enormously to make sense of all the gardening rhetoric. If you can bare the crowds then Chelsea is still unique and very much worth a visit but perhaps not every year.