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Home Over the garden gate
Over the garden gate
Chelsea Flower Show - 25 May 1999
Visited by Chris, Denise and Lynda
Written by Chris
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I had visited Chelsea before in 1996, and the appalling weather on that occasion and the dreadful overcrowding had put me off a little. My previous visit had been on a public day and it seemed to me that far too many people had been sold tickets. The queues for the loos were outrageous and one could hardly move inside the great marquee.

This time I joined the RHS and booked tickets for the first "members' only" day. A worthwhile move in my opinion! A small army of ticket touts greeted us as we exited Sloane Square tube station. They were trying to buy, rather than sell, tickets for the day. Tickets are like gold dust and must be obtained in January when the RHS sends out application forms to members. The weather was wonderful, sunny and not too hot, this too made a great difference.

Having met up with friend Lynda, who was visiting from New Zealand and who I had been chatting to on the "net" for around 18 months, she, Denise and I headed for the gardens.

Mr McGs The first exhibit we saw was Mr McGregor's garden. This was an attempt to recreate the garden mentioned in Beatrix Potter's books. Fairly ordinary I thought, but incredibly popular with the crowds!

Lynda and I are both slightly above average height. This is a great asset when trying to see whether something is worth queuing for!

Cascade Garden The next garden exhibit was named Cascade Garden.

Water themes featured strongly in this year's show. Some of them were very nicely done, as was this one, some were a little outlandish in my view. I am not keen on artificial items being in strong evidence in a garden.

Yes, that is blue sky up there, and this is England in May!

Horti-coutureI think this next one was my favourite, it looked more like the sort of garden one would find in "real" life, and fitted in with my liking for "bright chaos" in a garden. It was named Horti-couture. It would have been better had they removed all the scrap metal items so common to Chelsea exhibits. The orange flowers are geums and I think the blue were mainly forget-me-nots with perhaps some delphiniums. I should think this was relatively easy to put together for the day because the flowers used were in season. Making mental note here that orange geums and bright blue forget-me-nots make a lovely display!

Primula vialliAll around the place the lovely primula vialli was in evidence.

I've personally found these plants difficult to over-winter and I've seen some crazy price tags on them in garden centres. They can be grown cheaply from seeds and I made another mental note to try these little beauties again sometime.

Eruption of colourWe moved on through the crowds to "An Eruption of Colour". This had a kind of volcano to the rear which spewed forth steam (I hope) and water at regular intervals. Not sure what the neighbours would think about such a thing were I to adopt this idea! What appears to be a red climbing shrub growing up the side of the "volcano" are in fact thousands of red junior petunias!

We did miss out some of the gardens, usually because the crowds were too thick or because camera crews were filming them at the time and in our way! We observed that often those gardens that seemed most popular with the crowds and indeed won prizes from the judges, were not much to our liking.

Onwards to Deckscapes:
Nicely done, but a little too formal for my taste.

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