Oh, how often do we count our blessings? My Hero and I stood in central London yesterday and did it again - we did our proud parent bit and both agreed, we couldn’t have wished for a more lovely “daughter-in-law-elect”. Amy was in her element, amongst the greenery of Chelsea Flower Show, the results of many weeks of hard work and somewhere we were very happy to be on a gorgeous sunny day, thanks to her sweet invitation.
The “peony bath” caught my eye as it did many others…I’m not sure how I managed to get a picture without someone posing by it!
It was fascinating to have an “insider’s view” and to hear the stories and background to the installation.
We’d watched the BBC TV programmes about the show and had earmarked a couple of favourites which we were keen to see. In particular, continuing our current Japanese theme, I wanted to see Kazuyuki Ishihara’s design with those fantastic moss mounds. (Apologies to the woman who chose to sit in front of the string art sign, which ticked several boxes for me: #string art #twool and #interesting design!)
“Oh”, said Amy as we reached the garden, “there’s Ishy himself…hang on…” and five minutes later, we were shaking his hand, konnichiwa and domo arigato gosaimasu - and being invited in beyond the fence!
What a privilege!
So original, so very Japanese, a team of fifteen devoted volunteers came over from Japan with their toothbrushes and carefully brush each of those moss mounds to keep them pristine. Any idea that we could create something inspired by this went out of the window when we heard that! Can you imagine?!
The first impression is of a simple design but a closer look reveals it’s nothing of the kind. But I love the minimal use of flowers, the variety of textures and those tree trunks which are placed at just the right angle. Oh clever stuff indeed!
I could have stayed longer. I could have just settled myself in the small coffee house up there in the garden and savoured the view. Instead, we had a smile with the (Japanese) photographer who was also there as he took a quick personal snap of his own before getting his professional gear in place - he balanced a yellow Pharaoh duckie on his hand and giggled slightly: “all over the world”, he winked as he snapped his picture. Lovely to see we all do these daft things!
Next was a quick look at the Artisan Retreats, a collection of small workshops where artists were working in garden settings.
I especially liked Lola Lely Studio where there was much activity and interest in natural dyeing.
Colour in abundance by the McQueens Installation Per Oculus Apum - difficult to photograph but stunning to see.
My other “must see” was the Yorkshire garden, complete with lock gates!
Again, it was the small details; the daisies in the grass and the worn effect on the towpath that make this all so very clever. Far from contrived, it just looked as it should!
And that mirror! Who’d believe the crowd are standing on anything but a bridge? Amazing.
The cool of the pavilion was a welcome relief on this warm afternoon - what colour!
Of course, in between the little “insider views” the reality of the Chelsea Flower Show comes into play.
I’m sure every one of those thousands of visitors appreciated the immense amount of work that had gone into putting on such a spectacular show - we were fortunate to be able to thank one of the team in person, to give her a hug and look forward to seeing her again soon, when she’s caught up on her sleep!
What a star.