The RHS Chelsea Flower Show signals the start of the summer season for those of us on Mud Isle, as my adopted country is affectionately known. I was lucky enough to receive a last minute invitation this year, and it was on with the glad rags, out with the camera, and hobnobbing with the best of British in glorious sunshine - although our only celeb spot was a couple of reality TV stars, the Queen having had her own tour the evening before.
I would imagine she might be a little disappointed with Jersey's contribution, which was more suitable at a traffic circle than at Chelsea, but there was lots to delight both Her Royal Majesty (I'm so psyched for the Jubilee parties, can you tell?) and mere mortals, like me.
This year's gardens were as awesome as ever, with my favourites being the wildly romantic yet restrained Laurent-Perrier Bicentenary Garden (quelle surprise, loving the champagne garden!), and this Mediterranean one:
South Africa's stand was a worthy Gold Medal winner (and those Chelsea judges are reportedly *tough*). This year's exhibit, titled 'Themed Gateways', presented the rich biodiversity of local regions as mini-destinations. Flora from the Cape Coast, Karoo region and the grassland ecosystem of Kwazulu-Natal and Mpumalanga stood in front of watercoloured paintings, as if living postcards:
I'm from Natal, not the Cape, and I had no idea just how many types of Proteas there are...
This was also the first time the incredible Madiba Protea was shown. Named after Nelson Mandela on the occasion of his 80th birthday in 1998, it can't be described as anything other than glorious. So proud.
Guess those poor folks from Jersey can't say the same...
images: all own, except LP garden via RHS CFS.