Friday 27 May 2011

Farewell to Planet Chelsea....................

Farewell to Planet Chelsea.....................
My last day at the show is always a happy but sad occasion. Something that has been so much a part of my life for the past few weeks, or was it months, is about to be left behind. At this stage I have an overwhelming desire to keep Chelsea and Feel Good about Gardening alive – but I know that next week when the next project emerges Chelsea 2011 will just drift away.

It’s been an interesting show – and as the dust settles some of those amusing moments come back to me. The meeting of two Royal parties in the middle of the exhibit on Monday night. What do you say when two Princes come face to face, and don’t expect to? Do you know each other? Can I introduce................? How many times did I get asked how we get the Monument into the Pavilion. I take that as a compliment – at least it looks part of the exhibit. The torrent of water flowing through the Pavilion on Thursday evening and that wonderful Dunkirk spirit of the Brits wading around in Chelsea awash.

Friday started with a riotous train journey to London with three lively ladies I met at the station on their way to the show. The conversation hopped from French gites, to cup cakes, to ‘Made in Chelsea’, B&Q bedding, the St Cross Summer Fete and a dead purple clematis. This is the garden cognoscenti and they are ebullient form planning their hit list for the day. Needless to say a little garden retail therapy lubricated with the odd glass of prosecco.

So has all the effort been worth it? We’ve had so many lovely comments and compliments throughout the week that I really believe that we achieved something special with this exhibit. Organicstone, M&M Timber, Jim Keeling and Tom Stogdon all helped us so much to achieve what we did. The team from Scotts Miracle Gro, our Chelsea partners have worked with us and are now very much a part of the Hillier Chelsea family. They’ve recorded countless video clips, and certainly the Chelsea visitors have been very willing to tell them what makes them feel good about gardening. Visit to find out.

The plant material has held up brilliantly and the exhibit looks almost as good on Friday as it did on Monday. Some things, such as the deciduous azaleas have got second wind, enjoying the cool weather and relieved to be far away from the cold store. Their next stop is the Chelsea sale at Sunningdale on Sunday morning – then hopefully on to someone’s garden - a real garden.
There is always too much to cram into my last few hours on site – visitors, goodbyes to fellow exhibitors, making breakdown arrangements. That’s the worst bit – arranging for the garden to be raised to the ground – but go it must and so must I. I always leave later than intended – I forget that visitors are arriving as I am leaving. I finally tear myself away and dive into the tube – Planet Chelsea fades into the distance....................

What am I doing next year? – Well, you’ll have to wait and see.

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