BBC coverage guaranteed to have started with 'Heavy showers today at Chelsea didn't put off the thousands of people visiting...'
I was wowed by the show gardens, intrigued by some of the artisans' gardens, came away with some ideas for plants that I would never have thought of using, and taken aback by the sheer plantsmanship that it must take to produce so many perfect blooms so precisely for one week in a year. In a year like this one particularly, how on earth do you get to see narcissi and dahlias flowering in the same tent?
One of my favourite gardens, and one which I hardly got any photos of was the 'literary garden'. I chatted to Bonnie Davies who designed the planting. Her use of the flowering cornus kousa 'China girl' really set the garden off, and the restful tones of blue and cream using campanulas with Digitalis 'Camelot cream' seemingly fading into the wood behind the garden made an incredibly restful setting.
I didn't expect to like 'Emptying one's mind' - after all, an outside loo is an outside loo, but it was really the fact that it seemed to be a completely settled garden, again, incredibly restful, that did it for me. The mossy logs reminded me of Cornish woodlands and the intertwined groundcover planting gave it a calming, eternal look.
In the show and urban gardens sage seemed to be ubiquitous:
The 'winds of change' garden was full of interesting plant combinations. As someone who normally shuns all yellow from my garden I was surprised to find myself drawn to a combination of trollius x cultorum 'Alabaster' and silene fimbriata. A quick web search tells me that this silene is white - but it looked pretty yellow to me in the garden.
Overall my favourite planting combination was in the RNIB garden.
More salvias as you can see but also alliums, a peony I hadnt seen before (white wings?) and some foxtail lilies which I am determined to get into my garden next year, despite their rather large cost and single flowerspike per plant. I did have a chat with the guy at the Devine nurseries stand in the Grand Pavilion, a rather dour yorkshireman, and understand that you can fit 5 or so into a square metre , laying the roots on the ground rather than burying them, so definitely going to give it a go.
One of the many vast statues I wasn't allowed to buy for my garden
And finally - I loved the retro feel of the National Chrysanthemum Society stand.