Paris Chelsea Tour 2013
Trip Recap May 15th – May 24th, 2013

May 23

Chelsea - the 100th Anniversary Show!

I haven’t been going to Chelsea all that long, only since 1996. There are many who have gone for more years than I but there is one thing I will say – you must if you are a gardener or lover of plants go at least once! It used to be called the Great Spring Flower Show, first held at the RHS garden in Kensington. Then the garden closed. It moved to Temple Gardens and in 1912 the show was cancelled to make way for the Royal Horticultural exhibition and it was Sir Harry Veitch who got the grounds at the Royal Hospital to take the show in 1913 for this one time – well it was such a success held on these grounds – the rest is now history! Chelsea has stood the test of time and designers and still continues to bring the very best from around the world to our eyes.

There are always the show gardens to visit each year…all made within weeks to look like they have been there for years…the excitement of who won what is always there. The huge tent filled to the brim with the most incredible displays you will ever see. Some have shown at Chelsea since it began! I do love the one large tent now – bright, airy and so much easier to walk around. There is always something new to see at Chelsea…you may not agree with it all but it does make you open your mind to the possibility…like 6’ tall moth orchids and 8” high garden gnomes….apparently this will be the first and last time you see the gnomes as they were for a fund raiser…right….

Then there are all the smaller gardens, the exhibits, the floral displays, and all the shops that sell everything from sculpture to greenhouses to garden gloves…it is truly amazing.

This show is a huge money maker…as well as a huge burden of cost…and I for one hope it continues for another 100 years!

Things I liked this year from the shops were:

-Those big tall pots from Capital Garden Products. Such colours too!
-Indian Garden Company had gorgeous umbrellas and cushions in vibrant colours.
-Sculpture from Helen Sinclair that featured single figures and sets of 5
-Gorgeous floral bouquets from Wild at Heart…loved the peonies!

London itself is a fantastic city to just wander…I often do that if I don’t have anything planned. Some times you see the most wonderful photo ops by just strolling.

I had arranged to meet a friend after I was done at the show and we set off to do just that…discover.

First it was to the Botanist, where we have been before, and I have recommended to my tour guests to go for either brunch or afternoon tea. Very very good and not that expensive. I had the Eggs Royale….delicious

Then we visited Jo Malone just around the corner. You can get a free hand massage and since it was cool in London we decided we needed to get our hands warmed up and massaged. Amy looked after both of us and what a treat. She helped us pick out fragrances that we liked, mixed a wee bit into a rich cream then massaged our hands. I even got a free glass of champagne to enjoy..and each of us got these wonderful little jars of Orange Blossom Body Cream in little sacks to take home with us.

With warm hands now we then walked around Sloan Square to get some photos of the local shops that had spiffed up for the week. Some were gorgeous! One of the other places that I really like was this shop called Squint Limited…they make bespoke furniture pieces for clients…very cool and comfy stuff using bright colours and recycled fabrics.

Then we made our way to the Radisson Blu Edwardian Vanderbilt to sample their Afternoon Tea. We were ushered into the lounge area with big comfy chairs and a really homey feeling, sat down and chatted with the waiter a few moments about what we would like then sat and chatted until it came. What we enjoyed mostly was that this was a very unpretentious place .. you could come in and enjoy tea in a relaxed mode, and the food was good .. it tasted like food, each with distinctive flavours. We have been to some teas where it tasted like cardboard…looks great but tastes terrible. Here you can enjoy tea and not have to pay a huge sum for it either. We enjoyed it very much and would recommend it to others….

Then it was time to leave – we parted ways and I headed back to the hotel to get ready for our farewell dinner with my group.

Another year…new friends made and old ones cherished…until next year!



  • New Eden
  • Kids Garden
  • Plant a Row Grow a Row