Wednesday 22 May 2013

On with the show.....Taking a risk at Chelsea 2013 paid off.

After the emotional wrench of Sunday when the staging team depart amidst hugs, tears and promises to do it all again exhaustion takes over for a few hours on Sunday evening. The exhibit looks fantastic. I always say it’s our best ever and this time I have no doubt. Pools, plants sculptures, buildings, seating, and of course plants all truly superb.

Monday dawns cool and grey. I get into the show with John around 8.30.Rick and the girls have been there since 7, preening, cleaning and finishing.  Press launch happens all too quickly: kisses, compliments and pictures. This is followed by the usual uncomfortable feast of fish and chips in the cool and breezy uncomfortable seating area outside the Pavilion: just another face of Chelsea.

A change of outfit in the shed and then is time for the Royals. I’m not going to list them because I nearly always get correct titles wrong. It is enough to say we were honoured with most including Her Majesty the Queen.  Amazing experience once again.

Then its Gala Evening. Our Beazley guests arrive promptly and I deliver an introduction to the exhibit. Lovely group keen to see Chelsea. We manage to escape briefly for a visit to the Australian Garden . In the amazing elevated tree house based on the flower of the Warratah I believe, Chelsea show feels a distance away. It feels like an out of body experience.


Back in the Pavilion the daylight has faded and the power of our lighting takes over. Paul has done an amazing job: the front glass and copper fountains are magical. This is an experience for a moment in time: my camera has run out of battery, I have to leave for dinner at The Ivy, but I won’t forget this picture.
Tuesday dawns and the phone starts to make noises. We’ve won our 68th Consecutive Gold Medal. Relief. Visitors flock on to the exhibit. Lots of compliments. The shirts are a sensation! Some serious enquiries and as ever some questions from the past. Recommended oak species for the foothills of the Himalayas? Why don’t we know the answer to that one? Interview with Alan Titchmarsh for the ending of our BBC piece which goes out that evening. I like the results when I see it later.

Then it’s back to Astons to load up our luggage. Rick comments that the British Army on the move in Afghanistan have less kit: by a long way  think. Back home unload luggage, put on washing, charge netbook, open post, cook pasta, pour a glass of wine: then I look out through the conservatory. I haven’t seen the garden for a week. It’s so vibrantly green. My tulips are at their tallest and fullest and have awaited my return: thank you.  The first alliums are sparkling above the border. This is a real garden; its different, quieter, less frantic. My other garden in London does it all in a week; this one paces itself and delivers throughout the year. I need to hold this vision in my mind when I finally tear myself away from Chelsea on Friday. This is the pain relief at the end of the show.

But then I still have three days to go of my Chelsea 2013. It’s like being half way through a holiday. You can’t bear it to end so you savour every day, telling yourself there is still time to indulge. Wednesday Beazley guests at The Royal Hospital and into the show. I hope the rain stays away from Planet Chelsea. 

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