12 June 2011

Chelsea flowers

There is just so much to see at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show that even splitting it across two posts you can just hint at the range of delights on show.

My previous post covered the show gardens that is what most of the TV coverage focuses on but the large marque packed with flowers is just as important, if not more so.

Especially when it is raining.

There is a wide mix of stalls starting with those from specialist nurseries keen to show off what they can do.

This stunning collection of tulips is just one example, albeit a rather nice one. Elsewhere there were lupins, cacti, acers, orchids, alliums and everything in between.

There were probably too many acers and alliums, to be honest, they were everywhere this year.

Some of the displays were slightly more mixed and more structured showing off the flowers in a more garden-like setting.

There seemed to be two main themes here, the English Country Garden and the Overseas Exotic. In this later category we we treated to strange (to us) plants from South Africa and the West Indies.

I made the mistake of offering to take a group photograph of one of the overseas visitors only to be handed a separate camera from every one of them to take their own picture. That took quite a while!

And then there were the two large show pieces.

The more exotic of these was an India themed tableau composed of flowers.

The pink, yellow and turquoise flowers make this a hard-to-ignore display even if they are not the colours that you would choose for your living room.

Striding across the carpet of flowers is a group of elephants. Elsewhere there are lions and fish.

There is a lot of detail to savour which means getting up close and parading the display slowly to capture everything that it has to offer.

More traditional, and more to my liking, was an equally large display of flowers, fruits and vegetables that rejoiced in its colour. Look carefully and you can see orange and red peppers, green apples and red tomatoes.

It's this imaginative use plants to create a rich feast of colour that made this a centrepiece of the whole show and a firm reminder that there is a lot more to Chelsea than the formal show gardens.

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