Chelsea Flower Show Tour 2005
May 22-30, 2005


Our hotel this year, the Rubens at the Palace was a hit! Everyone enjoyed the ambiance, the rooms and the close proximity to everything. We were right across the street from the gate that brought the horses and carriages into Buckingham Palace and got a chance to see a few of them coming in one morning. It was funny to think that HRH was in Alberta visiting while I was in London visiting ... oh well, perhaps next time we will meet! This hotel is our choice for 2006 and onward ... I should also say at this time, that I have been to many of these gardens before and while you may not see that many pictures on this recap, if you go through the other tour recaps you will find more! I always try and find something new to take photos of.

A great group of gardeners this year as well as repeat guests who are always a joy to see again! This year we saw gardeners from Pennsylvania, Michigan, Florida, Washington, California, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and British Columbia.

After our welcome dinner the evening of May 22nd, we all settled into our rooms and got ready for the week. You never know what the weather will be like, but I must admit, we have been lucky in previous years and this year was no exception ... fantastic weather!

May 23, Wisley and Kew

We met our guide Hilda, who I have had on all my Chelsea tours, then we boarded the coach for Wisley. This garden has been on the Chelsea list for years and is a must visit. It never seems to stand still, probably because it is a teaching garden. You will find the latest in techniques in gardening plus of course the usual beautiful gardens. Also on the agenda for them as a garden is that they plan to build a new world-class glasshouse, which will have Life-Long Learning at its heart. It will provide the catalyst to harness the 200 years of resources, expertise and skills within the Society and share that with a wide audience. The RHS Bicentenary Glasshouse will be a cathedral-like glass structure, equivalent in size to 10 tennis courts and rising to 12m (40ft) in height. It will have three climatic zones, recreating tropical, moist-temperate and dry-temperate habitats. What a treat that will be when completed and of course it will mean that we will have to make more time available at the garden to be able to enjoy it.

After lunch at Wisley, we visited Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew on London's South Bank. Again, another must visit. While here we were treated to Gardens of Glass: Chihuly at Kew, a spectacular sequence of uniquely shaped and vibrantly coloured glass sculptures set throughout Kew's 300-acre garden landscape will be the first exhibition of its kind in Europe. The exhibition has been specifically designed to respond to the plants, trees, historic landscape, architecture and sweeping vistas of Kew. Gardens of Glass, is the first exhibition of its kind to be held at Kew, combining elements of art, science and nature. Most pieces were set within the landscape, including the huge pond in front of the Palm House, while others were set inside the Temperate House and the Princess of Wales Conservatory. Dale Chihuly has a long-standing interest in historic glasshouses and is very familiar with Kew's great glasshouses. This will be here until January 15th, 2006.

Another very exciting find at Kew was the appearance of the Wollemi Pine (Wollemia nobilis)





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