Not so this year. I don't know if it was cost, cancellations, lack of interest, lack of demand, or what, but the cavern was resoundingly cavernous and pretty empty. I hope that those nurseries who did attend found it worth their while, as the displays were very good.
What did I like? Lots. Did I buy anything? Sadly no - I had a train trip home, and a stuffed Friday afternoon Arriva Wales train would not have been kind to any vegetation. Anyway, I'm trying to avoid impulse buys nowadays, in a vain attempt to make the garden slightly more harmonious. There were lots of ideas, and I took photos of plants and the nurseries supplying them, so I can follow up any plant-based longings that stand the test of time. It's too easy to fall in love with something at a show and come home to a lack of space in the sort of conditions where it would thrive. Perhaps I'm gradually learning as I get older.
As always, an amazing display of veg on the W. Robinson and Sons stand
I was sorely tempted by this Peony 'Flame' but was saved from trying to find somewhere in the garden where it wouldn't clash with everything, by the fact that you had to order it.
A beautiful display by Pennard Plants. Something a little different, and it made me wish I was in the
Something I wasn't so keen on. It's a variegated beech - Fagus sylvatica 'Franken'. It looks diseased, or at least heavily pooed upon by a poorly pigeon.
The box full of mini 'mouse' hostas was rather cute - an amuse gueule for a hungry slug.
I just loved the colours on this Iris hollandica 'Silvery Beauty'. I can't figure out why, but it reminds me of the long summers of my childhood.
Despite the 'banging music' as I believe it's called, I rather liked Primrose Hall Plants rave/chill out zone. It looked as though some visitors were rather nervous of entering the rooms, but I thought it was great to see something a little different from the usual planting displays. The moss 'picture' was beautiful.
But it's always impossible to forget where you are. I've not been to Chelsea, but I would imagine that the Great Pavilion has rather more atmosphere than a shed at the NEC. I hope that business in the 'marquee' picks up for next year's show, because much as I complain when a plant marquee is heaving with people, it's far preferable to empty space.