RHS Chelsea Flower Show runs from tomorrow May 22 until May 26 and is a CELEBRATION OF FLORAL STYLE and INNOVATIVE GARDEN DESIGN. If you are in London here’s our guide to all things gardening …
The RHS Chelsea Flower Show marks the official opening of the summer “season” and also establishes the horticultural trends. This year bee-friendly, naturalistic planting takes centre stage with a preference for grasses and recycling, as well as rethinking where and how gardens should look.
Of the official show gardens Tom Stuart-Smith’s The Weston Garden is the centre-piece of the Great Pavilion. The landscape architect is a holder of eight Gold Medals, and has undertaken many private garden projects in Ireland. His exploratory design is abundant in tall trees and evergreens with lush planting and flowers. We also like The M&G Show Garden by Sarah Price. Mediterranean in mood with diaphanous flowers and grasses, rich earth colours and textures, this is a romantic, relaxing garden.
Irish fern expert, Billy Alexander, is exhibiting in the Great Pavilion, where he is showcasing a selection of specimen tree and ground ferns, sourced from his home in Kells Bay in the Ring of Kerry. We’re hoping he brings back a coveted gold medal (announced tomorrow). “I believe some of the ferns on display have never been shown before to a UK audience at an RHS show …” www.rhs.org.chelsea.
A must-visit when in London is The Garden Museum, where the exhibition “Cedric Morris: Artist Plantsman” celebrates British artist Cedric Morris (1889-1982), who founded the East Anglian school of painting and drawing at Benton End, Suffolk. Morris achieved national stature both as a plantsman (he is still renowned as a breeder of irises) and artist. Lambeth Palace Road London? SE1 7LB www.gardenmuseum.org.uk.
Northern Irish florist Neill Strain has one of the most vibrant boutiques in London, in Belgravia’s West Halkin Street, with ever-changing floral doorway arches which give good Instagram. This year he is taking inspiration from the V&A exhibition on Frida Kahlo. Do wander around the area where over 50 retailers are participating in Belgravia in Bloom. Also take in Sloane Square and Knightsbridge area where The Summer of Love is the theme for many of the window decorations. www.neillstrain.com.
Pop into The Bloomsbury Hotel for Afternoon Tea on their gorgeous Dalloway Terrace. Named as one of Conde Nast Traveller’s “hot” hotels for 2018, do have a look in to the Seamus Heaney library while you’re there. As for the al fresco terrace, it’s named after a Virginia Woolf character, while the Afternoon Tea menu has been created on a bee theme. Served from 12 noon to 4pm, it costs £35. www.doylecollection.com.
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