24 May 2014
RHS Chelsea Pavilion (2014)
The large pavilion at RHS Chelsea is as much a part of any day there as the show gardens are and I spent about an hour and a half in there in which time I took 110 photographs.
Whittling those down to just seven was a brutal task and I have tried to select the pictures with the most impact. This meant that I had to discard lots of perfectly good photos of flower stalls but at least a lot of them have found a home on Facebook or Flickr.
The pavilion was laid out in a grid, more or less, and I systematically went up and down all of the aisles to be sure of seeing every stand.
That sounds a simple and obvious plan but it was not without problems. The grid was not uniform with some double-sized stalls cutting across the paths. In going up and down I passed most of the stalls twice so there was a lot of repetition. I also had to go from side to side frequently to see the other two sides of the more interesting stalls.
There was a lot of variety in the Pavilion, possibly more than in the gardens outside, and so while the walk was quite regimental and orderly what I saw was just the opposite, a constant stream of pleasant surprises.
One of the biggest surprises was a collection of floral dresses displayed in one of the corners. This was not quite my favourite dress but it is my favourite photo of the dresses. The other dresses were less full and long and thin shapes do not photograph well, not even in portrait (which I try to avoid using).
Every time that I have been to Chelsea there has been a large and exotic display from Thailand, and this was no exception. This year it was called “Thailand: Our Pride, Our Monarch and Our Cultural Heritage".
These displays are not really my sort of thing but they work well for me when surrounded by other floral displays that are more in the English tradition. I suspect that the Thais find all our displays weird.
Another favourite of mine was the large and display of flowers, fruit and vegetables arranged in four pyramids of different colours. From a distance the impression was of size and brashness and as I approached I could start to see the shapes that made the whole until I was right next to it and could wallow happily in the detail on the individual items.
There was so much more that I could have shown, even ignoring the many stalls that just did flowers. There was a Peter Rabbit, a family of foxes, a Punch and Judy show, a bicycle, an aeroplane and a horse, as well as the more usual greenhouses, garden seats and watering cans.
Above all there were flowers everywhere. Flowers of all shapes, sizes and colours. And that is why the RHS Chelsea Pavilion was such a delight.