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RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2010


by James Alexander-Sinclair

It's Chelsea Flower Show this week: the biggest and most famous show in the world. The tickets sold out very early but for those of you lucky enough to be going here are a few tips - both practical and aesthetic.


It's RHS Chelsea Flower Show this week: the biggest and most famous show in the world (although Gardeners' World Live at the NEC from 16-20 June 2010 runs pretty close of course!).

The tickets sold out very early but for those of you lucky enough to be going, here are a few tips - both practical and aesthetic. I was there last week with Joe Swift and Cleve West making a film for the RHS website and we had a chance to do a bit of poking around amongst the show gardens.

Tom Stuart Smith is back again building a garden for Laurent Perrier. Tom has won seven gold medals and is a master at designing show gardens. He has some spectacular drystone walls, some glorious birch trees and some of the largest box balls known to man.

Next door to him is Andy Sturgeon's garden for the Daily Telegraph. Modern screens made of steel and a stunning chocolate coloured wall. There was a large crane shifting some magnificent pines - each weighing four tonnes. Andy is also presenting the lunchtime coverage for the BBC.

Tucked away in Ranelagh Gardens is Green & Black's Rainforest Garden. This is a representation of a family home in the Cameroonian Rainforest and has been constructed in part by a group of indigenous women. The idea is to raise awareness about the threats they and the rainforest are facing. Jane went to the Cameroon a year or so ago and, inspired by the plight of the women, has put enormous energy and persistence into making this garden happen. She has been aided by the talented Ann-Marie Powell.

Robert Myers is back again at Chelsea, designing for Cancer Research UK. When we saw it there was a vast canopy covering a lot of the garden: so large that it had become known among the other gardeners as "the petrol station". However, this was before the plants arrived - I'm certain that by the time the judges get there it will all look great. Robert won the People's Choice award last year.

There are many others: look out for the extraordinary moss (pictured above) by Japanese Designer Ishihara Kazuyuki, the Easigrass Garden by Tony Smith  (he made gardens at all three major shows last year) and Paul Hervey-Brookes (for Bradstone). Paul won last year's Chris Beardshaw Scholarship at the Malvern Spring Show.

I am judging small gardens on Monday and will be trundling across your television screen sporadically throughout the week. I will also be there if you press your red button. Wave if you see me.

Wear sensible shoes and be patient. It will be crowded and you may have to wait a bit in order to properly see the gardens, but it's worth queueing.

And an important tip from no less that His Honour Mr Alan Titchmarsh MBE DL VMH "never pass a loo without visiting."



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Talkback: RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2010
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Gardeners' World Web User 24/05/2010 at 21:47

dont know what to do with my cordyline,half of its green half dead.had it 15 years please help.also my jelly palm looks dead.

Gardeners' World Web User 26/05/2010 at 20:50

My heart sank as I watched the television coverage of the gardens at Chelsea. There was little evidence of help for birds to get in and out of those vertical sided formal pools. I once had the distressing experience of watching a blackbird drown in the enclosed pools at Kensington Gardens. Were the cameras just missing these essential features? It's so important for designers to be aware that gardens and wildlife are interdependent.

Gardeners' World Web User 31/05/2010 at 14:57

I loved the bottle greenhouse and want to build one on my allotment - please can GW show us how - Geoffrey Hamilton would have been thrilled to see it!

Gardeners' World Web User 31/05/2010 at 18:32

hi back from chelsea on saturday had the privilage of meeting james alexander wife had photo taken with james what a really nice guy also met sarol kline looking foreward seeing james at bloom in dublin

Gardeners' World Web User 31/05/2010 at 20:46

I loved the Eden project garden,it was my favourite really great to see so much being recycled within the garden. great ideas to take home and very inspirnational

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