Gardening: Sense of déjà vu at Chelsea Flower ShowBy Linda Fort
June 01, 2012
At Chelsea Flower Show, last week I got a dispiriting sense of déjà vu.
The super-expensive show gardens looked exactly the same as last year – nothing at all to make me feel that someone had come up with any new and bright ideas.
They were, however, all real gardens and could have been lifted from Chelsea into the real world where they would go on growing beautifully.
Then there were the gardens that were not really gardens at all, but art installations – with fake grass and plucked flower heads, pretty for a week then gone.
Then again, there was Diarmuid Gavin’s tower with a lift running up the middle and “garden” on each level.
It was striking – but it was not a garden.
It could not survive in the real world and so you have to ask – what is the point of it other than to attract a lot of press interest?
And making the Chelsea pensioners climb up it for a photo-call turned it from horticultural folly into cruel and inhuman punishment.
Dreariest of all was the ubiquitous maroon and apricot colour scheme – so trendy about four years ago – and everywhere this year, mainly in the form of dark Geranium phaeum mixed with pale orange geums.
I have both flowers in my garden, but I will not be putting them close together, I am so sick of the ever-present “interesting” juxtaposition.
The day after I went to Chelsea, the sun started to shine.
And back in the real world of gardening, I have been scuttling outside to water every evening.
The garden is frothing with blooms on flowering shrubs and the roses in the back garden are starting to open.
One of my two new roses is clean, healthy and beautiful and the other has black spot.
Apparently you can make an organic fungicide with baking soda and citrus oil – I haven’t tried it.
I will just be picking the leaves off and destroying them.
In the end, the best policy is to pick rose varieties that are black spot resistant.
It is after all the most disfiguring of all rose diseases and roses have no other function than to look beautiful.
Chelsea may have been a bit dull this year, but the lesson to every day gardeners is in the perfection of every bloom.
The Hyde family from Ruscombe grow perfect lilies – huge immaculate blooms – and win gold medals every years.
This year they won the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee award for the best exhibit in the Great Pavilion.
We everyday gardeners can only stand back and marvel at the way the experts can achieve horticultural perfection.