Monday 21 May (Press Day)
On a day reserved for the great, the good and the media it was a pleasure to drop in on the expansive setting of the Chelsea Flower Show on the left bank Chelsea Embankment of the River Thames on the first proper day.
The show was well showcased later via TV but to see some of the set-piece gardens like the Welcome to Yorkshire garden designed by Mark Gregory up close was very special. A stone barn gave lean to shelter to a table and chairs surrounded by wild meadow flowers – a bucolic haven in the middle of SW3.
Themes at this year’s show included health and wellbeing and there was a moving garden designed to reflect changing phases of childhood.
This is the Welcome to Yorkshire garden designed by Mark Gregory. Eventswhatson.com Henry Giles
Prime Minister Theresa May made an hour-long visit with her husband Philip and spent time at the RHS Feel Good Garden, which is designed to help those suffering from depression and dementia. Matt Keightley created the garden with the Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust.
Of course there was the small matter of a drop in by The Queen in the early afternoon, a tradition which they say launches the summer season, but the show was eerily quiet later on as eventswhatson.com dropped by for a preview, but we can report stunning up close flowers and scents, with the Emily Bronte rose a winner and the Wuhan water garden which shot jets of water into the air among the more inventive tableaux.
As always the Chelsea Pensioners who host the whole affair looked splendid in their red coats and indeed dress codes were from smart to very smart but with that spice of English eccentricity evident in touches of fashion like a newspaper photographer I met from Trinity Mirror dressed in full tweeds including plus-twos and well polished boots.