We went to members day at the Chelsea Flower Show. I must admit to not being very impressed with it. Give me Hampton Court any day. The show gardens generally are becoming very similar, with not really any new and exciting and innovative ideas in garden design. There were over twenty, and not one really deserved a champagne toast.
My main complaint was that it didn't feel very 'gardeny'. Most of the designers themselves were not present, presumably because the prizes had already been handed out, and so it wasn't possible to talk with any of them about their thoughts etc. The retail outlets were far too numerous, and the emphasis seemed to be on clawing as much money from the visitors as possible.
The main overall theme appeared to come from the events sponsor, M&G Investments, and on attempting to find a quiet grassy area to enjoy our picnic, were directed along a path that ended in Raymond Blanc's rather elitist restaurant, 'Jardin Blanc'. In my personal opinion, rather vulgar.
She was correct, of course, and it reminded me of something else that's always bothered both of us.
There is a book by Caroline Kline titled 'The Victorian Gardener', which partly supports the expert and varied knowledge that most career gardeners were required to have even in those times.
My favourite, the 'Dubai Majlis Garden'
We always find a corner for champers!
If horticulture is considered a profession not even worthy of being on most official forms, then why is there not a Chelsea equivalent for plumbing, the legal profession, building, or dare I say laundry? In a nutshell, it's because nothing matters more to the human psyche than gardening, but the powers that be refuse to recognize it. Also, big events for these other trades would be so boring!
So, my lovely wife has reminded me that if I want/need some garden time, then a visit to Heligan or East Ruston Old Vicarage are the way to go. When it's business, then the big horticultural shows. Cheers!
Rebecca, the day after Chelsea!