Another gardening week (yes we are still working!) and the show must go on.
The day begins with a watering schedule that takes us all around the gardens. The greenhouse, cold frames, pots of tulips, pots of lilies, pots with herbs, perennials recently divided and replanted, newly bought and planted perennials (hollyhocks and delphiniums), new seed beds of veg and flowers and recently planted sweet peas from the greenhouse at the foot of their frames. Plus there are all the containers of topiary at doors and entrances.
In one garden there are 20 new roses planted all over the place, up high banks, along walls, at the base of trees. Each takes half a can of water once a week to get established and are planted a long long way from the tap…
The watering alone can take an hour at each of our gardens and is certainly a wonderful start the day, an opportunity to take in all the detail.
When I first started gardening I was always looking forward to what was coming out next, as you are always preparing for the next season. As the years have gone by, I now realise that the gardens are at their very best today, the day you are there enjoying them.
Setting off … very excited, the sun is shining and it’s a glorious day…
Meet up with Chris for lunch first and a spot of research in a Chelsea Nursery
We have tickets for the 3.30 – 8pm slot but are allowed in at 2pm. Thats loads of time. As we enter everyone is shuffling around at zombie pace already- I don’t blame them, it is hot. I know we’ll be the same in 5 hours time. We have energy, swerve the show gardens and head straight for the Great Pavilion. We gather up Alix en route and then all hell is let loose as we get excited and cameras are out for our favourites. From past experience I take photos of the flowers that I love – and labels (I think the exhibitors are missing a trick not plastering their name all over the labels?) . Alix is a little more old fashioned and it’s all pen and paper for her. I query this but she reassures me that that is the way she works.
OK I’ve already ordered 200 Narcissi for a client, having discussed with the gang which ones really are the most beautiful – but forgotten to take photos and we’re straight onto the Tulips…
So those flowers featured in the ‘Old Masters’ are/were in? – Here is one. Tulipa Grand Perfection
Next fave is Tulipa Blue Parrot
Apparently it can last 3 weeks – that is one whole week longer than many and a great additional attribute.
I hasten to add that these tulips will not look great together in my mind! Next one I love is Tulipa sprengeri… it’s been available for a long time now but oh how lovely:
and so the next stand is Bonsai???!! well, so the mind then has to disassociate from Spring bulbs and move onto miniature trees. I can do that.
I home in straight away to this gorgeous coloured tree. After a brief discussion with a Bonsai practitioner standing next to me, we agree this is a show-stopper; Cedrus atlantica ‘Glauca’. I then spot
Pyracantha? Surely not? This hum-drum filler of a climber for a north facing wall has been transformed into this? I have now just bought one from Morrisons for less than 3 quid – hopefully in five years time I will have recreated this!
I’ve just got into Acers – way after everyone else, in fact practically every stall had Acers as a foil/back drop. Why? Anyway it seems that in America this whitish acer is called Ghost1 or 2, whilst here it is called Acer palmatum wigume or ukigume. I liked it.
Next in this list of completely unrelated plants, I was looking for a Bourganvillea for home and while I love that ridiculously garish pink one in the south of France, I don’t think I can resist this one called Bridal bouquet.
Hours later we emerge from the Pavilion blinking in the sun light – briefly hit and miss the show gardens, partake of a splendidly prepared picnic and have no time left to peruse any more…