by Michael Smith (Veshengro)
This year the RHS Chelsea Flower Show was sadly lacking the emphasis, that it had for the last couple of years or so, of “grow your own” as in way of food.
While the trend for growing your own food expands the RHS has, sadly, as far as the 2012 Chelsea Flower Show was concerned, ignored this fact to a very large extent.
A great emphasis this year we saw on wild flowers in all different kinds of show gardens. Nice touch and very important as far as pollinating insects, and primarily bees, are concerned but “grow your own” is – pardon the pun – growing and people want information as to how to do it, especially in small spaces and the urban environment.
One of the few exhibits dealing with growing your own food, and in this case doping it almost anywhere, that caught my attention, and I believe they were some of the very few, were the displays by “Socia Spaces”, “Urban Green” and “Growing Spaces. They all dealt with growing your own vegetables in an urban environment in all manner of containers and locations.
Another small exhibit in the Grand Pavilion, where also the aforementioned were to be found, of interest was the Square Foot Gardening display. But even this one was dedicated, to about fifty percent, to the growing of flowers and bedding in small spaces. This never was the intention and idea of Square Foot Gardening. Square Foot Gardening was and is about growing vegetables for oneself and one's family.
Some of the other “gardens”, such as the Monet inspired one were a little – to say the very least – out of this world, but a designer's dream, no doubt.
As far as themed gardens go the Demilitarized Zone Korean inspired garden I rather did like though it would hardly be possible to recreate that at home. The watchtower, however, would be nice at the home plot.
The plants from Korea apparently did not make it, that is to say, they did not survive, so I understand, and British native plants were substituted in their place. This did not, however, in any way detract from it at all and, in fact, made it look more in keeping with the spirit of more native plants to be used.
Unfortunately, I hate to say, I absolutely and entirely missed the Artisan Gardens as I simply had a problem with this year's map finding my way around it. The fact that I had to fiddle around with my spectacles probably was one of the reasons.
As per usual I also used the opportunity of being at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show to renew my acquaintance and friendship with staff and PR agents of the various garden tool and equipment manufacturers, as well as garden tool suppliers and garden suppliers.
At the Agralan stand I “met” the Threadhoe and one of them also came home with me for a product review. At the same stand I also met, and this time a real meeting, Lisette from L'amour Botanique with her West Country Herbs, who was sharing the stand with Agralan.
The review of the Agralan Threadhoe, designed and made in Sweden, and which was shortlisted for the Tool of the Year 2012 at Chelsea, can be found here.
I look now forward to, hopefully, being able to go to the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show 2012 to, hopefully, see another load of interesting things.
For next year's Chelsea Flower Show I must remember though to take my antihistamine tablets and carry the eye drops, as the pollen from the London Plane trees, once again, played havoc with my hayfever. The continuous use of the road sweeper on the “vendor's row” did not help it one bit; in fact it aggravated it for everyone I talked to.