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Chelsea Flower Show 2006
By: Ali 
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This was my first ever trip to Chelsea, and I wanted to enjoy it!! I went with Claire, her freind Isabel and Helen, my sister-in-law. I had booked afternoon tickets for the Friday, as this was the best time for me get off work. We left Reading at 1 PM, caught the train to Paddington and then intended to get the underground to Sloane Square, from where, Chelsea, is a 10 minute walk. BUT!! Due to a fire, the district and circle lines of the underground were closed. This meant an alternative route was needed, not having planned for this and admitting to be a little perplexed, Claire took charge!! She took the map of the underground and said 'follow me!!' We did, she got us there at just after 3! Although our tickets said 3.30PM admission, they let us in!! So now the fun could begin!!
After getting our bearings and that all important 'coffee', which I had expected to be expensive, was pleasently surprised to find was not. We spilt up Claire and Isabel going one way and Helen I the other. We arranged to meet at 5.30 for 'eats' and comparing notes. Helen and I headed for the show gardens. We did this as it was not raining and felt we could save the Pavillion just in case it did! The gardens were all in their own way wonderful. Even if they weren't to your own taste, one has to admire the way they are all put together, to look like they have always been there. I have been to many garden shows over the past few years, and feel that the exhibits at Chelsea were most probably the best I have seen 'put together'. They were truly magnificent. One of the first gardens we veiwed was the 4head garden. Many people were admiring it, but to me it was too much like the Lost Gardens at Heligan. When you arrive there, the path, after entering takes you through woodland, which was so much like this garden! I did like that natural planting, and it had a very relaxed feel to it.
Claire and Isabel particulary liked the Australian garden. Designed to give the 'complete Australian experience' It did use many different materials and looking at it you did get the feeling that you could totally live in it! I guess they don't have as much rain in Australia as we do!!!
The Daily Telegraph garden, looked very pretty with this style of planting and the colours chosen. The taller grasses growing through the flowers looked very effective. I was not personally so keen on the rusted planters used. It won best in show award as well as Gold.

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