05 June 2012

UKDay1: Hay Fever at the Chelsea Flower Show

We arrived in London early in the morning of the final day of the Chelsea Flower Show. Although the trip was planned so that John could visit some of his favorite gardens, it was only by chance that the timing of it happened to coincide with the flower show. So we dropped off our bags at our friends' flat in Kew, freshened up a bit, ate a mid-morning Cornish pasty from a wonderful little butcher shop right by the Kew tube station, and made our way to Sloane Square. After the rainiest April in 100 years and an unseasonable cold snap, everyone seemed delighted to finally have warm sunny weather and people were everywhere. It was a bit of a mob scene. The flower show was sold out long before the nice weather arrived, but one couldn't help thinking that the hordes of sun-starved Londoners ambling along with tall glasses of Pimm's didn't care as much about the flowers as they did about getting a suntan.

The main exhibition tent was so chock full of things in bloom it was like a giant sneeze fest. Happily the crowds seemed to gravitate to the more garish displays, which left us some room for John to look more closely at flower varities that were new to him.

By the time we had spent a few hours at the show the combo of the crowds, the sun, the pollen, and major jet-lag made the idea of going back to our lodgings in Kew much more attractive than to follow through on my plan to go to the Carlyles' House. (I wonder if I will ever get there?) 

I am not really posting flower pictures today because 1) the sun was high and bright and they didn't turn out so good, 2) there were so many people it was hard to really get any good photos, and 3) we have tons more photos of actual gardens that I don't want you to burn out before I get to the really good stuff.

These are our tickets purchased many months in advance.Only in England would
one find ticket touts for a flower show. It might as well have been a Wombles concert.  :)

Crowds annoy me. Especially when it is warm and the sun is out. They also annoy me more
when I am with someone else--I end up worrying too much about a whole slew of things over which
I have no control. Add jet-lag and pollen induced sneezing to the mix and you have a wonderful day out.

I did manage to keep my complaining down to a minimum, I didn't want to detract from John's enjoyment
of his first time at the flower show. And I did enjoy discovering new plants that we want to put in our garden.
We already have Astrantia in our garden, but not this lovely white variety.

John's dream house.

I think John would have put this stone trough in his suitcase if I had let him.


I like the stamp, but this is the kind of flower display that I find dreadful.
It reminds me of some tacky seaside boardwalk.
One can only assume that flower show folks created this
one with tongue in cheek.

2 comments:

  1. This sounds so wonderful! Pimms! Peonies! Giant stone troughs! Sneezing! Wish I could have been there! Hope you all continue to have glorious times! Exclamation mark!

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  2. I went to the Chelsea Flower Show in 1999, my first (and only) trip abroad alone. There were far fewer crowds then, or I may have gone on RHS members day because I was a member back then.

    I found a stone / cement lion's head spout that I had to have (my husband and I are both Leos) and brought back to Boston in my carry-on luggage. Man, was that thing heavy! But worth it. I took it with me when we moved to Philly, but I don't have a garden here.

    John, who I gather is the major gardener in your family, may want to consider membership in the Royal Horticultural Society. An international membership is a bit pricey, but the monthly magazine alone is worth every cent.

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