Friday 31 May 2013

RHS Chelsea Flower Show, 100 years!

It is not wasted on me that Chelsea is much like a favourite annual flower. Appearing, as it does, at the same time every year. Having flowered prolifically for a week, allowing us all to cut flowers for home by merrily snapping our shutters after the best shots of the gardens and blooms. Setting seeds that germinate. Garnering strength, adapting to its environment, appearing dormant over the winter and then, just as we are losing the memory of its beauty, bursting back into our consciousness with a great "ta-da!"

It is an interesting turn of events, that in this modern era, we are transported to the show ground daily through the magic of  television and the internet. Here we can luxuriate in all the show has to offer without once setting foot outside.Brilliantly talented people film and describe the exhibits, strangely this has the effect of making the show look better on tv than it does in real life! This always foxes me, and yes, somehow disappoints me.

 This year being the 100th anniversary of the show I had great expectations~ here are some of the things that caught my eye...this is the "Secret Garden, past and present" designed by Horticolous. Positioned in the The Great Pavilion. It was  real standout for me.

Also in the Pavillion this, from Barnsdale Gardens. Inspired by their ornamental kitchen garden and of course famous for being the home of the late and very great Geoff Hamilton.

This was amazing and quite unexpected, a Buddhist temple surrounded by orchids and bromeliad flowers
Two white elephants are guarding the temple, it looked stunning and was the work of  Nong Nooch Tropical Botanic Garden.

Outside in the Artisan Gardens I loved the colour  in the Herbert Smith Freehills garden, this garden is inspired by the work of the charity WaterAid in India.. The planting was so perfect, red, plum and ochre...

This is the Massachusetts Graden. inspired by poetry of Emily Dickinson and featuring the most fabulous leather applique work panels designed by Susanna Hunter.

I think this just about nosed ahead of all the others as my overall Woolcott and Smith Garden Design for the NSPCC. It was so nostalgic and crammed full of beautiful planting, the photographs on the RHS site do far better justice to it!
There were some stunning hoardings around the show ground featuring images from the archives, I thought they were stunning and wished more had been made of the history...
I drink dew for wine, and hearken to 
The voices of the birds, and dance
To the rhythmic swaying of the grass.

I am the lover's gift; I am the wedding wreath;
I am the memory of a moment of happiness;
I am the last gift of the living to the dead;
I am a part of joy and a part of sorrow.

But I look up high to see only the light,
And never look down to see my shadow.
This is wisdom which man must learn.

Taken from "Song of the flower" by  Khalil Gibran

Whilst I certainly had my "favourite" gardens it is not lost on me the Herculean effort that goes into every exhibit and garden. I admire and salute everyone who takes part in the show, this was brought home to me the week before the event when I bumped into my mate Simon.
"You look knackered!" was my hearty greeting.
"Been up all night with Verbena Bonariensis" he repilied.
"Say no more!" I said.
"No not that verbena! This Verbena is for a show garden at Chelsea and it needs to be perfect..."
"Ah, I see....."
...and Simon, it was perfect! Have a look here at Roger Platts Centenary Garden..
Simon's family run How Green Nursery and have been supplying Chelsea Flower Show for many years. Luckily for us they are having an open weekend on Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th June, so if you are anywhere near my neck of the woods (Kent ~ Sussex border) then do pop in. More details available on their Facebook page. Maybe see you there?

Friday 24 May 2013

Decorative Living Fair

Been a busy-bee...bursting with things to tell you about and show you. 
First things first though, here is my long overdue report on the Decorative Living Fair
Organised by Caroline Zoob and held at the bucolic Eridge Park.
The setting is so spectacular it is well worth a visit simply to soak up Spring and gaze down the valley...
I took this photo in 2007, I suppose that makes me a regular!
I especially love Eridge as, over the years, many of the exhibitors have become chums and I am thrilled to see them and their stands. All of the exhibitors at this fair have beautifully curated exhibits and lovingly made items. I marvel at their reinvention and creative displays. Fancy a decko?
In my eyes Viv from Hens Teeth can do no wrong, everything she touches becomes a little treasure. I adored her quilt back drop with gorgeous pieces displayed over it. Bunny Love!
Gil Fox Hat Designs is another stall I find hard to resist, she styles her corsages, fascinators and hats so beautifully. I thought her corsages displayed on vintage Observer books was a beautiful touch.
These chaps were standing guard over Caroline Zoob's new book The Hand Stitched Home...I think they are whispering seccrets...
Now I do look forward to a yarn with the wonderful Lucy of Love Lane Vintage...she is a wonderful purveyor of Vintage treasures and regularly organises Village Vintage held over in Wisborough Green. (Find out more here.) She has turned her talented hand to creating bespoke linen pieces...they are so gorgeous...Magpie is sporting a delicious grey linen Garden Coat, she loves, thank you Lucy -x-
This brilliant army of dogs was a real crowd pleaser!

 I do like a pop of red and there was lots!
Sarah Moore Vintage looked sensational, she has the best vintage fabric collection brilliantly worked into fabulous chickens, cushions and so much more. Wonderful velvet pea-pods bursting with floral peas staged in a colander, so whimsical! Sarah's new book Vintage Home looks amazing too.

 The Flower House, Mayfield had a lovely stall too ~ sweet peas and stocks, enough said!
I really loved the Old Haberdashery too, spent so much time admiring and purchasing vintage silk saris I didn't manage a single photo!
My favourite? Home Sweet Home by Viv from Hen's Teeth

 Awake with the larks, wandered around the garden in my dressing gown and wellies, accompanied by Boodle, nose twitching. Began snipping little sprigs and then posies began to emerge, took them to the fair in a trug and gave them to friends.

Thursday 2 May 2013

Cherry petticoats...Forsythia frills

This week the song is blackbird sweet.
Along the drive a rather unpromising row of trees, strangely misshapen by the wind, straggly. Most of the year they occupy their position with a quietly green understated shyness. But, just now they are starring in the Lane's annual blossom festival.
Like a row of ballerinas, the corps de ballet lined up in the wings. Straight slender legs topped with extravagant cherry petticoats. Through the trunks you can glimpse the glorious stage~all set for the glory of the main event...summer.
The house sits happily in its frilly frame.
Outside the back door the Sussex countryside that floats off beyond the gate is washed with the most delicate tint of spring green. Every morning a new wash is added and the colour strengthens.
An impromptu seating area ~ somewhere to breathe and take in breakfast (sun~feast). Fat fuzzy bumble bees drinking in the first nectar. The willow's newly grown mop head dancing and quivering..."love, love me do..."
And the blackbird sings a little louder.
I curtsey in front of the cherrys.
I nod to the forsythia
"Nice to see see you, nice!"