Many of you will be watching the week long coverage of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show on the BBC all this week. This year was the first year I decided to brave the crowds to see it for myself and see how it compares to the other large flower shows around the country.
The first big difference really are the show gardens, many more than you will see elsewhere and with much more complex landscaping and lavish expense. Some of the gardens like the Yorkshire garden look like they have been there for centuries but in reality have been put in in the space of a few weeks.
It is also wonderful to walk around and speak to many of the designers themselves. John Everiss from the Myleoma Garden spent a long time talking to us about how the garden was constructed, the challenges they faced and what will happen to it after. For celebrity spotters we seemed to be followed around by the BBC with James Wong and Sophie Rayworth and the delightful Reverend Richard Coles who had just been interviewed.
For plant lovers if you are inspired you can pick up plant lists as you go round the gardens and many of the plants will be shown again by suppliers in the enormous floral marquee. This year the floral marquee was covered by sumptuous irises and lupins which were heavily featured in the gardens as well as more unusual South African plants, tree ferns and ferns, tropical and carnivorous house and conservatory plants.
Themes this year
Bronze landscaping and rusted metals
The M&G Garden designed by Sarah Price
The David Harber and Savills Garden designed by Nic Howard
The Pearlfish Garden designed by John Warland and the Pearlfish team
British Council Garden designed by Sarah Eberle
The Silent Pool Gin Garden designed by David Neale
The Seedlip Garden designed by Catherine Macdonald (lined with split peas)
Urban Flow Garden designed by Tony Woods
A riot of colourful plants
The Seedlip Garden designed by Catherine Macdonald
The Supershoes Garden designed by Laura Anstiss
One of the artisan food vans
Foliage Plants, walls of ferns and moss, tree ferns
O mo te na shi no Niwa designed by Kazuyuki Ishihara
The New West End Garden designed by Kate Gould
VTB Capital Garden – Spirit of Cornwall designed by Stuart Charles Towner
The Cherub HIV Garden designed by Naomi Ferrett-Cohen
Welcome to Yorkshire designed by Marc Gregory
The Trailfinders South African Wine Estate designed by Jonathan Snow
The Best of the Rest
The Myeloma UK Garden designed by John Everiss
Skin Deep designed by Robert Barker
Watching the BBC filming