I always find it truly amazing that, however worried I get before Chelsea and whatever the vagaries of the weather, the plants seem to know that it is ‘Show Time’ and simply shine on the day. Who would have thought it would have been possible to have the Poppy in flower especially as, one week before the show, they were still buds.
We grew them for 2 show gardens, the Arthritis Research Garden and the L’Occitane Immortelle Garden, and used the surplus stock in our own display. The simple splash of red draws you eye to see even more detail within the garden.
This is a traditional dye plant which produces a blue/grey dye from the mature leaves. As a dye plant it has now been nearly superseded by indigo.
We also battled with the cornflowers for the RBC Blue Water garden and even they sprung into flower just in time.
But the star of this year, as in many previous years,was Angelica. It looked architecturally splendid on the M&G garden.
It also attracted the honey bees which were being constantly photographed on our stand.
The question of the show was about Alkanet and Borage as many seemed confused as to which was which .
To make it quite clear. Alkanet, like its first cousin Comfrey, is a herbaceous perennial reappearing each year in the same place. It is not edible, the roots produce a red dye which was traditional used to colour rouge. Borage, on the other hand, is an annual herb which will happily self seed itself all round your garden. The leaves and flowers are edible and medicinal. The flowers are synonymous with the drink Pimm’s.
As we close on this years Chelsea we are already in full preparation for 2013, the 100th Chelsea Flower Show, which will, I am sure, be as spectacular as this year has been.