Chelsea Flower Show
Paris and London

Chelsea Flower Show

Thursday and Chelsea…now as you can see I love to take pictures and hope that these show you what Chelsea is like…it is really something to see and while pictures show you, being there is where you want to be.








I was really impressed with the gardens this year…they seem to have gone back to the way gardens should be – and I want to say that this is my
personal opinion. Everyone who visits Chelsea brings back with them
memories and ideas. Every garden is different and some will please you more than others..that is the way it should be. Some like hot colours and bold statements with statues and water features, some like gardens more subdued and natural…beauty is in the eye of the beholder and there is always much beauty at Chelsea.

There were quite a few stunning gardens in my book this year…’Garden From the Desert’ by Christopher Bradley-Hole. Sponsored by Sheikh Zayed. HMP Leyhill has always been one of my favourites every year. This garden is put together by prisoners and I think my all time favourite this year was the ‘Wrong Garden’ by the Daily Telegraph. This garden was so different with its plantings of reds, blues and black/purple. The water feature was unique in that the water seemed to go uphill. The copper cone pots filled with a single specimen of either Hosta sieboldiana or Cordyline australis ‘Torbay Red’ really set them off. The whole garden was pulled together with this pink gravel – I know this sounds weird, but you really have to see the pictures… The Laurier-Perrier garden was set off so beautifully with 6 fully blooming Cornus kousa var. chinensis. Tom Stuart-Smith was the designer for this garden. He also did Windsor Castle Garden to mark HRH Golden Jubilee. He has shown 4 times at Chelsea and won Gold each time. This also won the best show garden.



Wow, it was wonderful at Chelsea this year. The courtyard gardens are really taking off, I think there were 11 this year. The tents were full of gardens, displays…one that really caught my eye was the Sir Hans Sloane Garden. Sloane was a physician to three monarchs, President of the Royal Society in succession to Sir Isaac Newton, President of the College of Physicians, a scientist, a botanist founder of the British Museum and he also owned the manor of Chelsea. The garden was split into the New World Planting and the Old World Planting. His statue sat in the middle of both. By the way, this was the first time this garden was entered and it won Gold, by designer Elizabeth Banks Associates.

The wonderful thing about most of these gardens is that they will live on long after Chelsea is over…including the Sloane Garden.

For the display gardens such as Hillier, here is a bit of trivia. About 3,000 plants are used, 750 plant labels are written, it takes 12 lorries to transport all the plants to the show, 16 tons of sand, cement and ballast are used, 1300 concrete blocks are used to raise the terraces and water features, 4 tons of paving and walling are laid out, 10 tons of bark chips are used and the garden takes 10 days to build and only 10 hours to take apart. Can you just imagine just what happens every year getting Chelsea ready for us…

Trends at the show this year included…
The use of recycled materials is increasing, biodiversity in the gardens with more emphasis placed on planting for wildlife, planted roofs – three gardens featured this, the view towards climate changes and the kinds of plants we use. Using tropicals in our outdoor plantings, geometry – often these shapes pull the whole garden together. The use of Black plants, such as the ‘Wrong Garden’ – they are unusual and very useful to design in the garden. Low maintenance herb and salad growing can be incorporated into
even small gardens to make them more productive. Other thoughts from this
show were on Romance – how our gardens should feel, structures play an important part in the garden – as with the planted roofs and Alliums are the top plant for 2003 – watch for more and more of them. Other top trend plants include arum lily, iris, geranium and viburnum. The top colour is purple.

Alan Titchmarsh in a show that I watched while there said that there were 750 plants now extinct worldwide. Nettles were valuable in the garden for our bug life (just know how to handle them as I speak from personal experience!). You can see where gardening is going - thankfully back to nature and natural.



Chelsea trivia 2003…
600 exhibitors, 25 show gardens, 11 chic gardens, 11 courtyard gardens, 9 city gardens, 7 sunflower street gardens. It takes 800 people 3.5 weeks to build the show, it covers 11 acres, the floral pavilions cover 13,000 m. 157,000 visitors will attend the show (this figure is capped).

2004 is the RHS Bicentenary Celebration – so plan on joining us for next years tour!




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