Paris & London/Chelsea Flower Show
May 17-26, 2008 Tour

May 22, Day 6.
Up early, because we wanted to be at the gates at 8 a.m. That is the best time to be there and gives you plenty of time before the coaches arrive to take some pictures in relative space. The Chelsea Flower Show is the Royal Horticultural Society's flagship annual event. Visitors come from far and wide to see the creme de la creme of garden design and horticultural on show, and to get ideas to take home to their own gardens. I think I have been to Chelsea 15 times now and each and every time is magnificent. I believe every gardener should see Chelsea at least once and I know that my tour groups cannot believe how spectacular this show really is. You have to visit the show in person…some tidbits from this years show:

  • Vegetables are where it’s at – fruit and vegetable gardens are very big.
  • Wildlife friendly – as long as they can attract the right wildlife!
  • Water – remains a key element in garden design both from a personal aspect as well as for aquatic life.
  • Gardens are being used for more than just puttering now. Offices are being included in them, eating areas, entertaining and exercising are more important now that life has become more stressful.
  • Colour in the garden often flows with the clothing industry colours of the catwalk.
  • Environmental concerns such as reuse of water and lighting.
  • Fragrance in the garden is important with special emphasis on the early evening flowers that smell so you can enjoy while relaxing or eating.
  • Garden art is big – just look at Chelsea and there is no where that there isn’t garden art in the gardens.

I am not even going to begin to go into all the new plant introductions that come out each year at Chelsea…600 exhibitors all working their magic to make sure plants look their best from the first day to the fifth day so that 157,000 will see them all at their best!

After the show I went to Sloane Square where they do up some of the store windows during Chelsea week, then it was off to the Botanist for Afternoon Tea.

The Botanist is a brand new restaurant right in Sloane Square. I have had teas in a lot of places in London and each one has been different…this one included. While the food served is the same basic afternoon tea food, here instead of getting many tiny sandwiches and many tiny sweets, you got two sandwiches and one large sweet. Personal preference? - more sandwiches and smaller tarts. The scones were good (warm and no raisins which I like and are hard to find) the sandwiches were good, but too few and the sweet was very good…BUT, saying this, I will say that the price of 15.50 British Pounds (or 19.50 with champagne) is a far cry from the other places that I have had tea at where Afternoon Tea could run you 33 bp per person. The Tea was excellent; the service very good, the ambience of the place was a bit noisier that I had liked. Being right on the corner of a very busy square with the windows wide open made it very noisy. The other foods being served around us looked very appetizing and the prices were all very reasonable judging from the menu. All in all worth going to if you are in the area. Ed and Tom Martin are the owners and own several other eateries.




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