RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021 part 2 - even more favourite bits

So where did I leave you?  Oh I know, in the container gardens.  The container gardens were f.a.b. and what I liked about them most of all that it is a very accessible form of gardening.  You need so little space to have a plant in a pot.   Another good introduction this year for RHS Chelsea was the house plant studios. 

These were wonderful and whilst I wondered how they would work on the public days, when I went on Wednesday they were very easy to look into.  I had worried they might be over crowded but people were being sensible and it worked.  It was a very good idea too, as above I think it is a very accessible idea.  Room for a house plant can generally be found.  I hope the RHS continue to feature houseplants as a thing in themselves.
The Balcony Gardens were also another new feature.  I wonder if this was from the pandemic and us all spending more time in our homes trying to plant whatever space we had.  It is a good addition though I was not totally convinced it has found its feet yet.  Having a template set for them all to work from was good as it showed clearly the different approaches that could be taken.  I just think it needs to embed itself a little more, just get a little more confident maybe?  
The Grand Pavilion was spacious this year.  Partly to help with social distancing but also I imagine because many companies just could not get to the show.  The lack of overseas stands was notable.  It was however still a joy to wander around.  I even looked at the floristry installations.  I remember the first year I went to Chelsea I went to visit every element of the show and the floristry was in a large tent of its own then.  I confess it is not a huge interest for me, but I did enjoy looking at the exhibits this year.
And I paused at the Plant of the Year display too, trying to guess which one would win.  Would it be the kale…….?  
The actual winner was Cerci candensis 'Eternal Flame', (the more elderly of us, myself very much included, will now start singing 'is this burning, an eternal flaaaaame...').  This is a stunner of a tree, it is currently a tad on the expensive side if you look to buy one.  I shall be waiting for the price to go down but I do have to have one.
There were still more gardens to see: The Finding our Way: An NHS Tribute Garden designed by Naomi Ferrett-Cohen was a great piece of work.  This was one of the Sanctuary Gardens, another good new feature for the show.
 This is the 'See the Calm of Bangkok' garden designed by Tawatchai Sakdikul and Ploytabtim Suksang.  I liked this garden, it was indeed calm and made me remember when I visited Bangkok many (many) years ago now.  
The Psalm 23 Garden designed by Sarah Eberle is about nature restoring us as we travel through this pandemic period.  It is a beautifully planted naturalistic garden.
and this is the Finnish Soul Garden: a Nordic Heritage Seaside Garden designed by Tana Suonio, this is on Press Day when they had the artist and the accordion player.  It was a very good garden, lots of nice detail.
The M&G Garden designed by Hugo Bugg and Charlotte Harris also was full of nice detail.  It worked, the pipe works were a great touch.
I also loved the Yeo Valley Organic Garden designed by Tom Massey, supported by Sarah Mead.  Superbly  planted and a wonderful egg chair that sets it all off perfectly.  
As with many Chelsea gardens it is often tempting to focus on the feature, such as the marvelous egg chair, but the planting in this garden was second to none.  This garden won the Peoples' Choice Award and whilst it was not my favourite favourite, I am delighted for them nonetheless.  What was really good about this year's Chelsea was that we were spoiled for choice.  
and of course at Chelsea there is also everything else to see too.  The installations such as this cut-out bus,
the rusty cows,
the boxing hares (I loved these so much, if I had the space.....)
and all the things of beauty that I would love to have the wherewithall and space to own.  

and I paused for a moment and thought about all the regular stalls that were not there ....
absent through Covid, probably Brexit and every other complication that we seem to have having at the moment.  I thought of the birdbath of wonder that I stand in front of every year and think 'she will be mine, oh yes, she will be mine'* but of course she was not here this year and standing randomly in front of the space felt odd even for me.  Next year, next year all will be well I tell myself.  Let us hope.
I really enjoyed this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show.  It was an interesting experience being there in September.  I was surprised that I felt that my balance of love moved from the Grand Pavilion to the gardens this year for the first time in a long time.  It was an exceptional year for gardens I think.

I am already looking forward to May 2022 but I have to say I am a bit anxious about the ticket prices.  The price has jumped over the last two years and I know that times are hard, but ......

Stay safe and be kind.

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*as ever with due deference to Waynes World.


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