Chelsea is over for another year | Love The Garden

Chelsea is over for another year

John Clowes's picture
By John Clowes, Gardening Guru

Now that RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2012 is over, I’m back home. After a couple of months living the essential preparations for Chelsea and spending 10 days under canvas in the Great Pavilion, it’s surprising to emerge to see how the trees and plants are now fully in leaf and flower. I feel like a butterfly emerging from a dark chrysalis!

But there are some final thank-yous to say.

Downfield Primary
Betty Landowski and Nia Bheda from Downfield Primary with some of their colourful gerberas

Chudleigh Knighton School
Laurie Fulcher and Lily-Mae Mills from Chudleigh Knighton Primary School

Saturday, the last day of the show, was great fun. James Burge and Harvey Podwysocki from Sayes Court Primary, Addlestone, Surrey, were the first helpers to arrive and attracted a big crowd with their cheeky smiles. The school is a great customer of Squires Garden Centre at Woking where they get great service from Richard, the Assistant Manager.

Downfield Primary from Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, did sterling work on the flower garden as the school had produced some great gerberas.

Decoy Primary
Heather Tomlinson and Chloe Collings from Decoy Primary School take a rest from handing out leaflets

Landscove Primary
Nat Salt and Lucy Criddle from Landscove Primary School with patriotic red, white and blue petunias

During lunchtime, pupils from Devon arrived - Nat Salt and Lucy Criddle from Landscove Primary plus Laurie Fulcher and Lily-Mae Mills from Chudleigh Knighton Primary.

In the afternoon, our last Miracle Gro’wers joined the building excitement in the Great Pavilion as more and more visitors flocked in to spot the plants that they would try to buy as soon as the famous Chelsea bell was rung at 4pm to indicate that the show is over.

The Chelsea bell tolls

This year we printed 15,000 Learning Journey leaflets for our Miracle Gro’wers to give away - 50% up on last year. We had about 800 leaflets left over, so Jane Hartley had done a great job in estimating the number needed. Undeterred, Heather Tomlinson and Chloe Collings from Decoy Primary School, Newton Abbot, tried hard to clear our remaining stock of leaflets, and by the end of the show almost everyone in the Great Pavilion was carrying a Learning Journey leaflet. Our thanks too go to Victoria and John Baker from different schools in the Greenwich area, who answered many questions about the flower garden up until the final bell. They were fascinated to see the mad scramble to buy plants and the almost impossible burdens that visitors would be trying to take home on the tube and on suburban trains.

Congratulations to Val Christman for coming second in the People’s Choice for Best Small Garden. Her Bee Up Front garden, next to our flower garden attracted rewarding attention from the crowds. Unfortunately, the Miracle Gro’wers gardens didn’t appear in the top 5. Shame, but that gives us something to aim for next year!

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