Not having been to this RHS show before I was delighted to find out it was free to members, I knew that membership card would come in handy one day. Half term is not the best time to be schlepping down to the Big Smoke on the first ‘off peak’ train but beggars can’t be choosers I suppose. The London gridlock was much much worse than I recall, according to our cabbie it’s all in preparation for the July Olympics. Seriously Boris? isn’t this a bit ‘day late $ dollar short?’
We made it through the traffic and arrived at the packed show which is located on two sites close together. It works quite well, the hubbub of the jostling plant sales hall versus the slightly more silent and serious hum of the design rooms. Starting in the plant hall I was immediately floored by the rows and rows of gorgeous spring plants that are available and had to put my purse firmly at the bottom of my bag.
The show could feasibly be renamed, the Galanthus and Hellebore show for indeed these varieties were being shown off to their full capacity with block after block of delicate bloom tempting one and all. Avon Bulbs, Ashwood. Foxgrove Plants and Broadleigh Gardensto name a few of the participating nurseries. It was fun to get up close and personal with one or two of the Galanthus without having to grovel about on the muddy ground. I will admit to something along the lines of galanthophile envy at the range and clump size displayed.
The Design Hall was awash with colleges vying for new students and industry bodies selling their expertises. The SGD hosted a HUGE stand offering a showcase of MSGD’s work and offering quick, free garden design consults to all comers. It was exciting to see the photoshopped illustrations of the upcoming Chelsea Gardens and it looks to be another good year in 2012. Personal favourites were Laurent Perrier Garden by Arne Maynard. Is that a brown or purple pleached alle we are going to see I wonder? and The Telegraph Garden by Sarah Price of Olympic Park renown.
A fine lunch followed at the Blanche eatery, not a stones throw along Horseferry Road from the Channel 4 building and a quick jaunt around the British Museum foyer, due to the Grayson Perry exhibition being entirely sold out!