The Chelsea Flower Show 2013 is now a dim & distant memory; it finished all of 2 days ago but the next kid on the block is gearing up as preparations are made for Gardener’s World Live. It seems that it is one flower show after another these days. So lets have a quick ramble about the show.
This show was particularly promoted & celebrated as the 100th; indeed because of this gnomes were given special dispensation to attend resulting in hilarious segments in the BBC coverage of the event! (Did |I just say hilarious?) So as the centenary show, what did I think of it. I don’t normally get too wound up with whether it was a ‘good’ show, I enjoy the spectacle, but I did expect more from a celebration of 100 years of cutting edge gardening & garden design.
As always people have hugely differing views about the gardens but I thought this year they were really rather on the safe side. There was excellent design & beautiful planting but part of me felt that much of it has been seen before; the Laurent Perrier garden always looks like a Laurent Perrier garden. Where was the wow, the gasp, the ‘what the hell is that all about’ garden. I missed the plasticine, the tower, the Mars garden, the smarties on sticks or the fantastic garden last year to mark the 60th anniversary of the Korean war. Love them or not they did get people talking.
I suppose most gardens are very much constrained by the sponsor or the message that has to be incorporated in the design. People have suggested to me that the gardens reflected the financial climate but I am not sure that is the case. I would have loved to see a little more spark in some of the big gardens.
So enough of pretending to be a semi-sensible critic, didn’t you just love the little Japanese garden
and Chris Beardshaw’s stunning planting.
And of course every year there is ‘the plant’, the one that seems to appear in almost every garden. This year Anthriscus sylvestris 'Ravenswing', the purple foliaged version of the common but no less beautiful Cow Parsley which froths forth from our hedgerows & roadsides in spring was everywhere.
But did you also note the appearance of the squashed ball? I found it slightly bizarre this year that a particular shape kept recurring in many of the gardens. We are all used to seeing balls, particularly box balls (other balls are available) in many show gardens. What was rather interesting this year was that many of them looked as though they had been sat upon & deflated somewhat; the squashed ball was ‘in’, the round ball was ‘out’.
Even Chris Beardshaw had squashed balls!