Never mind Bank Holidays, I had my annual Chelsea Flower Show Holiday on Monday. It’s actually classed as work, as I interview celebrities and exhibitors for BBC Wales but it’s much more of a holiday, or a treat even – I absolutely love it.
This year was predicted to be ‘bigger and better than ever’ but to be honest, the VIP Day was the quietest I have seen in 8 years. There were quite a few Chelsea regulars there – Joanna Lumley, Anneka Rice, Esther Rantzen, Bill Bailey, Piers Morgan, Alex Jones, Rob Brydon, and Christopher Biggins to name (drop) a few. And also a few ‘Chelsea Virgins’, including Dermot O’Leary, Sue Pollard and Stephen Tompkinson. Felicity Kendall hadn’t been for 25 years, ‘I was last here when it was in black and white’, she laughed.
It’s was nice to be recognised by Dermot O’Leary, who recalled me teaching him to plant up some containers for his window sill on the Paul O’Grady Show 10 years ago. And Piers Morgan assured me that he still had my book, even though he hadn’t read it yet!
The people were in good cheer in the sunshine, as were the gardens. The planting was probably the nicest I’ve seen; informal drifts of wildflowers and perennials, and long grass – maybe because for the first time in Chelsea Flower Show history there were equal numbers of female and male designers. I must admit, the planting wasn’t too dissimilar to my own garden (based on my ‘stick it in and hope it comes’ method) and I actually felt ‘bang on trend’ this year. The formal topiary, straight lines and steel structures have given way to soft planting, curves and even a tree-house with a slide.
The most useful thing I saw were the ‘instant fit brackets’ from www.clipnhang.com – they literally just clip over the top of fences and posts to hang baskets, or lights, or whatever you want from.
Spending most of my time in lovely gardens, I think the statuary, furniture and garden structures are my absolute highlights of Chelsea Flower Show – my word, there are some lovely things out there … and lovely prices to match! The huge driftwood sculptures always catch my eye and heart, and one day I will have a fabulous swinging hammock seat and a huge outdoor beanbag in my own garden – and time to sit in them!
You can listen to Lynne on BBC Radio Wales, talking about this year’s Chelsea Flower Show here:
Full Celebrity Interviews:
Nigel Havers & Stephen Tompkinson