RHS Chelsea 2017 – in among the flowers

Cotswold gardens are generally big on herbaceous perennials so I love the chance to see something a bit different. The Great Pavilion at RHS Chelsea 2017 didn’t disappoint.

From specialist collections by expert growers to striking floristry and innovative ways to display plants, there was plenty to see this year.

Here are just some of the things that caught my eye.

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The waterlilies on Waterside Nursery’s stand were serenely floating amidst all the bustle of the show.

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And I loved the shaggy heads of this Eriophorum angustifolium, a British native.

The orchid display by the Eric Young Orchid Foundation was attracting a lot of attention. This is Paphiopedilum ‘Saint Saviour’.

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There were some interesting ideas for plant displays. This is a ‘living wall’ of thyme created by using Wonderwall planters.

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Or how about these ideas for house plants?

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It was put together by Indoor Garden Design and Ikea.

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I loved the idea of hanging plants. This was above a bed.

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And this makes a change from a budgie.

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The British Florist Association is celebrating a century of flowers and this display was put together by floristry tutors and students at Moreton Morrell in Warwickshire.

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As usual, the Birmingham City Council stand was eye-catching.

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The Interflora exhibit had a lot of cameras out.

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Of course, if it’s Chelsea there have to be roses. This is Peter Beales’ display.

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The delicacy of ‘The Fairy’ is a change from the larger blooms I generally see.

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This is also a beauty – ‘Rose Ball’.

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I’m planting lots more dahlias this year and, looking at the National Chrysanthemum Society’s stand, I may be branching out into those as well. This is ‘Vanilla Sorbet’.

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I also fell in love with Fibrex Nurseries’ new yellow pelargonium ‘Rushmoor Amazon’.

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Gardens may have moved on from tulips but I couldn’t resist photographing this on Avon Bulbs’ exhibit. It’s ‘Hemisphere’.

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And I love iris but seem to have mainly purple. These from Cayeux are definitely on my shopping list!

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RHS Chelsea 2017 the show gardens in pictures

Gardeners celebrate spring

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Cheltenham Horticultural Society starts its 75th anniversary year by filling the town’s Pittville Pump Room with spring colour and fragrance this weekend.

The society’s annual Spring Show is on Sunday April 2 and there are contests for everything from tulips and primroses to marmalade and rhubarb.

There will also be plants for sale both from society members and local nurseries, including Harrells Hardy Plants.

Daffodils will be centre stage with 19 different classes, including one for a container of three bulbs that were supplied by the society last autumn.

Gardeners will also be vying for top honours with trays of pricked-out seedlings, winter vegetables, containers of foliage plants, alpines and orchids.

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Cheltenham’s Pittville Pump Room will be filled with spring flowers

The cookery section is always hotly contested and there are contests for photography, floral art and a special section children’s entries, including decorated eggs and favourite cut flowers in a vase.

“There will be some really good plants on sale from our local nurseries along with various craft items,” says Dot Ward, society chairman.

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Daffodils will be one of the main attractions

“At a time when there is so much gloom and doom in the world, our spring show can bring a day which takes us away from it all with the wonderful sight and scent of flowers and vegetables.”

The show runs from noon to 3.30pm on Sunday April 2, 2017 and entry is £1, free to children under 16. For more details, see the Cheltenham Horticultural Society website here

Spring goes on show

Cheltenham Horticultural Society members will be filling the town’s Pittville Pump Room with the scents and colours of spring this week.

Daffodils, hyacinths, alpines, tulips and primroses will be displayed at the annual spring show on Sunday April 3.

Classes cover container-grown plants, vegetables and cut flowers and there are also contest for photography, cookery and floral art.

Alongside the show, there will be plant sales, crafts and refreshments. The show runs from noon to 3.30pm and admission is £2, with entry free for children under 16.

The society was formed in 1942 as part of the Dig for Victory campaign and has been holding shows in the town for more than 75 years. Meetings are held on the second Thursday of the month at Century Hall, Shurdington.

 Details: http://www.cheltenhamhorticultural.co.uk/default.asp

Chelsea plans unveiled

An 80ft train carriage, a new centrepiece in the Great Pavilion and an eccentric design by Diarmuid Gavin are among the highlights for Chelsea 2016 unveiled by the RHS this week.

The world famous flower show will also feature plantswoman Rosy Hardy’s debut in show gardening with a design highlighting the threat to chalk streams, and the return of Chelsea favourite Cleve West, whose M&G garden is inspired by Exmoor and uses stone quarried from the Forest of Dean.

Likely to be the talk of the show is Diarmuid Gavin’s ‘The British Eccentrics Garden’ for Harrods, which will ‘perform’ every 15 minutes with rotating topiary, bobbing box balls and patio furniture that rises out of a trapdoor.

More traditional is the creation of Cheltenham designer Chris Beardshaw, who is celebrating the work of Great Ormond Street Hospital with a garden sponsored by Morgan Stanley. Featuring reflective water and a Japanese-inspired main structure, it will be rebuilt at the children’s hospital after the show.

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Chris Beardshaw on his 2015 gold medal-winning garden

Meanwhile, L’Occitane will be hoping to repeat its gold medal success with the partnership of designer James Basson and landscaper Peter Dowle, who is based near Ruardean. They will be depicting the landscape of Haute Provence to mark the beauty firm’s 40th anniversary.

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Peter Dowle is building the L’Occitane Garden

Stroud-based charity Meningitis Now is also looking back to its founding 30 years ago but also forward with a garden in the Artisan category that highlights its work saving lives and rebuilding futures.

And there will be a new look to the Great Pavilion where the central monument site, dominated by Hillier Nurseries’ stand for many years, will now be home to an exhibit by hosta and fern specialists Bowdens. The Devon-based nursery is planting up a station with a 1920s Belmond British Pullman carriage as the centrepiece.

More gardens will be confirmed in the next few weeks.

RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2016 runs from May 24-28. RHS members’ tickets are on sale now, public tickets go on sale on December 1.