Flower Power

Everything’s coming up roses!!  Literally.

The Chelsea Flower Show is in town.  Even more exciting, the sun was shining today giving added radiance to the technicolor world of flowers and gardens.

Held at the Royal Hospital grounds in Chelsea, the annual flower show has been a London tradition for nearly 150 years and attracts over 150,000 worldwide visitors.  More than 500 prestigious exhibitors showcase their talents, making the Chelsea Flower Show the largest flower show in the world.  The show takes place on the sprawling lawns between the red-bricked elegance of the Royal Hospital, a 17th century retirement home for army veterans, and the river Thames.

The RH pensioners line the 80 ft tower of flowers

Dignitaries, celebrities, and the Queen make their way to the show every year, adding to the frenzy.  This year the Queen chose to wear a hair net instead of her usual hat, and this made almost as much news as the floral displays!

I had to go and see what all the fuss was about.

Here is my overview.  There are lots of stalls surrounding the main pavilion with items for sale.  Gardening gloves, wellies, outdoor furniture, garden statues, artist renderings of flowers…you get the picture.  Garden zealots in straw hats storm the stalls searching for the perfect garden ornament the way possessed stylistas in stilettos rummage through the racks at Barneys.  There is champagne to drink and plenty of food stalls to keep you satisfied.  Various outdoor garden installations adorn the inner circle, creating sculpture from plants and flowers.

Homage to the Queen

The main attraction is the grand pavilion, filled with bursts of technicolor blooms arranged in outrageously creative designs.  My first thought upon entering the great tent was that it was like Hortulus, a renowned garden club in Greenwich, on super steroids!  I wish I had a green thumb and better appreciation of the event.  Though I could not share the avid gardener’s zeal that was palpable, I could gape at the awesome displays created by these floral artists.

Who wouldn’t admire a stained glass display of vegetables?

Stained glass vegetables!

One of my favorite displays incorporated art backdrops of different scenes of beaches or mountains with coordinating indigenous landscapes.








The orchids took my breath away.  There were hundreds of every variety all aligned perfectly.  Several were placed in small test tubes and attaches to branches to create the illusion of a purple orchid tree – truly spectacular.

The show is one of the hottest tickets in town and sends everything and everyone into overdrive.  The crowds were unbelievable and gave me a taste of what London will feel like during the Olympics.  It was a bit overwhelming.

All in all, I enjoyed the show, but the true highlight for me was getting outdoors, strolling in the  sunshine, drinking some wine with lunch, and sharing the company of a good friend.

It was good to “take time to smell the roses”!



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