At last it's Chelsea day! How lucky to be in Europe at the same time as the Chelsea Flower Show. Up bright and early to be at the show as the gates open at 8.00 am. It's imperative to be there early to see as much as you can before the incredible crowds arrive.
At the entrance to the show, we are approached for donations to the Chelsea Pensioners. The flower show is held each year in the beautiful, park-like grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, home to the men in scarlet, the retired soldiers.
The show is comprised of three parts: the show gardens; the flower displays in the Great Pavillion and the commercial exhibitors.
We entered the show and moved quickly to see as many of the show gardens as we could. Thank goodness we started here, because it was only a couple of hours later that all the show gardens were surrounded by excited garden enthusiasts, three or four deep.
James May's plasticine garden was very popular. Apparently May was unimpressed not to have received a medal for his entry. On hearing this the RHS President awarded him a plasticine medal. Here's a picture of the garden, it's quite something and as you can see must have taken many patient hours:
We loved the flower displays in the Great Pavillion. Everywhere you looked there were wonderful displays of all types of flowers, fruits and vegetables. The Jersey farmers had a gold-medal-winning stand composed solely of vegetables:
There was also a competition to make a hat from flowers. The hats were so beautiful, I'm glad I wasn't one of the judges.
But Andy's favourite thing was an outdoor table that featured an inbuilt barbecue grill:
Andy says what could be more convenient, sitting down together and everyone responsible for cooking their own meal.
As the day progressed, we took so many photos that we filled up the flashcard in our camera. The first time this has happened since we bought it some years ago. Footsore and tired we made our way towards the exit.
We arrived at the Chelsea Flower Show having promised ourselves not to buy anything. Our cases were already so very heavy that we barely made it back to London from Paris and being quite old cases they don't have the nice wheels fitted to new luggage. Keeping in mind our pledge to buy nothing, we left the Chelsea Flower Show with: one pair of Wellington boots, one set of stainless steel garden tools, two books, two glass vases, four pairs of gardening gloves, a magazine subscription, a coffee mug and five other gifts. Who said we don't have self control??
We thoroughly enjoyed our visit and plan to start saving tomorrow for next year's show.