I was infuriated and disappointed by a Guardian piece from Ed Cumming. Following Dan Pearson on his return to Chelsea he reported remarks that seemed to show a rather disdainful view of the visitors. The ‘gawpers and craners’, to be kept at bay with ‘a little nip’ of electricity along a fence. Chelsea visitors, some of whom paid £67 this year to gawp and crane not including travel and pricey basic sustenance on the show ground, are then to be treated with disdain by the RHS and their sponsors. It turned out that Mr Pearson was right, the gawpers and craners, exhausted from their visit and in need of refreshment, plonked down on his beautiful garden benches to quaff beer and chatter. No one stopped them, no one batted an eyelid. Perhaps the benches should have been electrified!?
Of course on Wednesday the show gardens are often full of friends, family, sponsors, VIP’s and so on, so the visitor is required to crane further. It’s a spectacle too far, one I’m not sure I want to participate in anymore. The RHS bandy about that this is the high point of garden design in the UK but lets remember this is design arbitrated by the RHS themselves as appropriate, during their selection process. I would point out that the RHS is not a design body but a horticultural one. Next year? Chaumont for some really ground breaking design inspiration?