Monday, 19 May 2008

A Nice Green Leaf: Chelsea Confidential

Dsc_1404_2This was Chelsea Flower Show at 7am this morning: no crowds, no noise, and no celebrities. Several sniffer dogs, yes, who took a surprising interest in the resin mushrooms being sold at one of the stalls. But as yet, no actual mayhem.

Dsc_1413_2It almost seemed as if this year, Chelsea might have changed its tune. With Tom Stuart Smith's green garden, and Arabella Lennox-Boyd's minimalist water piece, there was much to suggest a different mood. Especially in the calm of the morning, with Crocus employees fishing leaves from the surface of the pool.

Dsc_1516Dsc_1418_2 There is a brief moment at that early hour where you feel like you are still behind the scenes: nursery ladies are still stuffing newspaper into their displays to hold things steady before adding a final layer of moss; and one French iris grower had individual blooms, brought from Normandy last night, all still wrapped in yesterday's French newspaper.

Dsc_1598_2Dsc_1584However by midday (left) Diarmuid Gavin and Terence Conran were quaffing champagne, smoking huge cigars and just generally getting things back to how they should be.

Then (right) I spotted AT doing his utterly professional bit, along with Llewellyn-Bowen, Melinda Messenger and Damon Hill. And Alys Fowler, who looks amazingly glamorous in real life, like an 80s Brat Pack chick.

Dsc_1601_3Dsc_1602_2 Whilst they were enjoying the sunshine, I snuck a look inside one of the famous "Chelsea Sheds" (left), the backstage areas for all the amazing show gardens. Indicatively, despite the fact that it is the "messy backstage", it is tidier than any real shed of my acquaintance.
Finally, I checked out what my man Joe was up to. There he is, amongst some kind of softy grass planting, ahhh.
However, that is not my favourite picture of the day.

Dsc_1603_2This is.

PS Can I just add, I have a ton of gorgeous pictures of the flowers which I will post later. But I had to do this first: for all the Diarmuid fans.

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