Friday, 30 May 2008

Chealsea Flower Show

It was my fifty second birthday last week and my daughters took me to Chelsea Flower Show because I had mentioned that I had aways wanted to go to it.

Helen came with me although Claire paid her share. We set off at 6:10am to get the bus to the railway station. It was surprisingly warm considering how early it was. Usually in Britain there is a nip in the air during early morning even if it turns out to be a warm day.

The sun shone on the station platform as we waited for the fast train to London.

I go to London quite a bit but when I go it is usually to Tottenham, which is a long journey to the north east of London. I use the underground because it is quicker and I am scared of getting the wrong bus and I never know what stop to get off. The underground is much simpler - a simple map to follow and I always know when to get off and where to change train lines. I was therefore resistant to Helen's plan to get the bus from Paddington station to Victoria station to meet up with the flower show shuttle bus.

She showed me on the Internet that it took the same amount of time to go by bus as underground. Also it would be obvious when we got to Victoria station so we would not miss the stop.

I'm so glad we went by bus because I rarely get to see the centre of London. The sun was shining and the streets were still very quiet. It was a pleasant journey viewing the beautiful buildings and parks from the top deck of the bus.

We arrived at the gates of the Flower Show grounds about 15 minutes before they opened at 8am. There was quite a queue, but as the day wore on we realised that we had made the right decision to go early. By 11 o'clock the crowds were very thick and it was difficult to get to see the garden displays.

We managed to see most of the gardens and all of the inside pavilion displays before then. The commercial stands, which we viewed in the afternoon, were very interesting too.

We had an early lunch. We were hungry by 11:00. We had taken breakfast to eat on the train but that was still early. Helen had read that it was recommended to go for lunch before 12 or after 2 due to the crowds of people. We noticed that most people had brought picnic lunches and were eating whilst sitting on walls or the grass, especially by the bandstand.

I love walking the streets looking at people's gardens so it was a real treat to see so many interesting layouts. I enjoyed the courtyard gardens best, the ones with a traditional theme. I'm not so keen on the 'modern' look with lots of concrete and no soul.

I particularly enjoyed sitting in all the swing seats for sale to see which was most comfortable. Of course that was the most expensive seat at a few thousand pounds. But it was also very good quality.

I also enjoyed the displays of plants in the pavilion. I didn't realise there were so many varieties of lavender or clematis or delphinium.

It was funny seeing people walking home with enormous plants in pots at the end of the day. We went on Saturday which was the last day so there was a big sell off. The shuttle bus was like a greenhouse with more plants that people. Regulars had come prepared with trolleys to wheel their acquisitions home.

My favourite flowers are the wild ones and I bought quite a few packets of seeds. Primrose and cowslips are the ones I snapped up first. I am looking forward to having a garden to sow these seeds in ...... but that is another post.