The RHS Chelsea Flower Show, London: Thursday 25th May 2017
After buying the family tickets to attend the RHS Chelsea Flower Show as a Christmas present, the day has finally arrived.
We had foolishly agreed that everyone should ‘get ready in their own time’ – well, when you have a 17 year-old in the house who insists on putting two layers of tan on her legs (on one of the hottest days of the year) as well as generally mucking about, (as teenagers do), it results in you leaving the house much later than you had in mind.
From Amersham we jumped on the tube to the Royal Chelsea Hospital. During the journey, there was a group of South American gentlemen playing a variety of instruments, which sounded great and gave me an excuse to swish around in my dress. I thought to myself ‘this is what I miss about travelling on the tube’.
After a small diversion to South Kensington for breakfast, we arrived at the gates of the hospital, as we queued to get in we were approached by a smiling armed police officer and were asked to follow him to the front of the queue. I really thought I had done something wrong. The officer explained they were seeking out people with rucksacks and we were taken to the front of the queue to have our bags put through the scanner. Heart palpitations aside, I was glad that I got to skip the queues even if it was because they expected the me of being a danger to others.
Once inside the show, it was like being on Oxford Street, people milling about all over the place. ‘Great!’ I thought to myself, ‘this is going to be hell on earth today’. Within minutes Paul and Elizabeth were gone, we had lost them and would not meet up with them again until much later in the day.
It was about 12noon, the sun was high and it was warming up by the minute. We spent time looking at the show gardens with mum always keeping one eye out for her beloved Monty Don, hoping he’d sign a body part or two; we didn’t get to see him which is probably just as well. Whilst strolling around the gardens, Kris came across his beloved topiary, which looked like a variety of different animals including a snail, a panda and a bear or three.
The show gardens were beautiful and I loved the fact that various presenters from BBC Radio Two had created a garden, which reflected them.
Within some of the gardens on display there were large metal ornaments which looked like fish or large stones with lights in the centre. Kris called them ‘rock eggs’. We all mentioned at different points that being at the show was making us sneezy. I did feel for anyone who has from hay fever.
At one point mum and I lost Kris as he went wondering off to take pictures of the BBC Studio. We replaced Kris with a Pimms and carried on. We did stumble across one BBC presenter (thankfully not Monty Don) but for the life of me I can’t remember his name – mum of course was delighted to have seen him though. There were as many stands selling high end garden ware as there were stands showcasing flowers. Some of the items for sale looked gorgeous, others though I am sure you can pick up for half the cost on any high street.
In his solo travels around the gardens, Kris had stumbled across the band stand where there was lots of seating and a military band playing a mixture of popular tunes. This was the perfect place for us to all come together and take five minutes in the shade. From the bandstand we went looking for a horse garden which mum had said was shown on the BBC coverage of the flower show the evening before. Kris came across it first and showed me but the rest of the family were nowhere to be seen, Paul had been distracted by another garden along the way.
By now the day was cooling down, Kris and I started to feel as if we had seen all that needed to been seen and as we had a long journey back to Birmingham we bid the family goodbye and headed home.
Written by Fern Sargeant, edited by Kris Bramwell