RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2022 - a return to May

Two Chelsea’s in under twelve months! It feels a bit like we are being spoiled except of course the reasons for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show being in September last year were not good. The show itself was good and I enjoyed the late Summer feel to the show. This year however, we are back to the usual routine of a late Spring/knocking on the door of Summer show.  The show this year is sponsored by The Newt in Somerset, where I visited a year ago in February.

As ever the hardest part of writing about Chelsea is knowing where to start.  I am going to show you the bits that really caught my eye.  I decided to start here at the most enigmatic of gardens: The Plantsman's Ice Garden designed by John Warland is one of the Sanctuary Gardens.  The garden's message is about how the permafrost is melting at an alarming rate and that within twenty years all summer ice might not longer happen.  The melting ice releases carbon but also releases seeds frozen thousands of years ago.  Within the ice there is hope.

It was not the warmest day at Chelsea, though not cold either, and I am looking forward to seeing how much of the ice has melted by the end of this week.  On display they also had these beautiful blocks of ice with plants trapped within them.  I thought these breathtakingly beautiful.

I was also very taken with this Sanctuary Garden, the Kingston Maurward The Space within the Garden designed by Michelle Brown.  The white wisteria is very eye-catching and adorns the entrance to a secret jungle of sub-tropical plants.  

This is one of the most colourful of the showgardens: The silver medal winning St Mungo's Putting Down Roots Garden which is designed to be bright and inclusive to celebrate the ten years partnership between St Mungo's and Cityscapes  where they aim to transform people's lives and spaces.  
The Mind Garden, designed by Andy Sturgeon won a gold medal.  I want to say 'rightly so' but my judging is purely subjective, but it is rightly so.  The planting was superb and I loved the walls curving through the garden.  Some of the walls have seating areas and it is a garden designed to help people connect in an area of tranquility and calm.  I think this is my favourite garden of the show.  There is something about the curves of the walls that really work for me.
The Swiss Sanctuary Garden designed by Lily Gomm won a bronze medal.  I really liked this garden which is designed to evoke the flora and terrain of Switzerland.  The music being played on the alpine horn or labrophone as I now know it is called, was beautiful.  I was quite transfixed.  
There is more to Chelsea than the gardens, there is also the garden emphemera.  Sadly my favourite stand with the beautiful bird bath was not there this year, but I stood for a while in front of this fire pit used beautifully as a planter which did a good stand in for it.
These glass wings are just begging for someone to stand inbetween them as a photo opportunity, I saw many photos taken here.
and in the Grand Pavilion I found a Tardis, of course I did, would you expect me to miss one!
Back in the avenues of show gardens, I enjoyed the New Blue Peter Garden - Discover Soil designed by Juliet Sargeant, which in my subjective opinion should have had gold but did get a very worthy silver-gilt medal.  I remember the original Blue Peter garden way back in the day and it is nice to see a new one being created that will move to its forever home at RHS Bridgewater after Chelsea has finished.  I like very much that many of the gardens created have a home waiting for them.
and whilst on the subject of waste, I got distracted by a bin. 
The Hands off Mangrove Garden by Grow2Know designed by Tayshan Hayden Smith and Danny Clarke is a great garden (Silver gilt? really??) threading global deforestation and social injustice into one garden.  Central to its story and the garden is the deforested mangrove sculpture with the nine roots represent the Mangrove Nine who in the 1970s were accused and acquitted of inciting a riot.  Grow2Know are community gardening project formed after the Grenfell Tower Fire in 2017 where the community came together and started planting spaces.  This garden will also move to a forever home in Notting Hill and will be a focus for the local communities.  
and if you hadn't noticed it is the Queen's Platinum Jubilee this year.  This stunning display by Simon Lycett is to celebrate the Jubilee and contains pots of lily of the valley, apparently the Queen's favourite flower.
Crowns were very evident at the show.
and celebratory bears.
I was delighted that one of the Plant of the Year nominations this year was a brassica, Brassica oleracea 'Purplelicious' to be precise.  Sadly it did not win, it was pipped (if a brassica can be pipped...) to the post by:
xSemponium 'Destiny', a fine looking plant.  I know, I know, Plant of the Year is not a beauty contest, but.....
In the Grand Pavillion I might have got side tracked by this Hosta 'Tip Top', fab isn't it? (I think I might be cured of my dislike of hostas now - its taken a while....)
This is The Blue Garden designed by Tom Wilkes-Rios, this is a Balcony Garden, one of the more recent additions to the show.  I decided if I had a balcony it would hopefully look like this - isn't it great?
There are also container gardens: this is The Wild Kitchen Garden designed by Ann Treneman.  I like these new categories.  They feel a little more in reach than some of the big show gardens.  Whilst I think that no matter the size of a garden you can find inspiration in them, these are just a bit more relatable.
This is the RAF Benevolent Fund Garden designed by John Everiss, the central figure is huge and this is another garden that has a forever home waiting for it.  I love the impact of the sculpture, it is bold and is a worthy tribute to those who have served.
I shall about some more the treats and show gardens at Chelsea in my next post, but  I shall leave you with this from the Floral Gallery of the Grand Pavilion, this is one of the Floral Windows.  I know zilch about flower arranging but I can see the skill and care that is taken and I found these displays really quite absorbing to wander through.  I used to avoid the floral tent when it had its own area yet now I rather like taking a dip into this world.  
Lastly for this post, here is the 'Mothers for Mothers Garden -This Too Shall Pass' garden designed by Pollyanna Wilkinson.  This garden represents the challenges many women face in motherhood: post -natal depression, anxiety and isolation are the lived experience of many new mothers (I can relate very much to this).  The garden takes us from feeling isolated and stuck within the house, represented by the arches and the planting moves from muted colours of depression and anxiety to a brighter, more colourful future.  

Take care and be kind

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