A little wander round RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2015

An invitation to Press Day at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show is definitely one of the most amazing things about running a website like this. Rain aside…
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Here are some of my favourite bits of the show. First of all, of course, the big show gardens – Matthew Wilson's Royal Bank of Canada Garden. Just look at those benches…
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And the Sentebale – Hope in Vulnerability garden designed by Matt Keightley designed to help the vulnerable children in Lesotho (and supported by Prince Harry). I loved the gentle wildness of this garden.
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I felt the grey rainy English day didn’t do justice to The Beauty of Islam garden, designed by Kamelia Bin Zaal. I would love to see it by moonlight, but here’s Anne Marie Powell brightening it up.
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A Perfumer’s Garden in Grasse, designed by James Basson…
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… the stunning Morgan Stanley Healthy CIties Garden by Chris Beardshaw, which is being transplanted after the show to Poplar in East London…
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… Dan Pearson’s AMAZING Laurent-Perrier Chatsworth Garden which did make me gasp out loud when I walked towards it…
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… the moving garden building Harry and David Rich’s Cloudy Bay Garden (which actually moves on rails, not over water as these rainy pics might suggest!)
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…and of course, The Writer’s Retreat in Jo Thompson’s M&G Garden 2015, which she would not let me move in however much I begged..
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Beautiful. I did go looking for other possible writer’s retreats though. Look…

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Ahhh… The Artisan’s gardens were – as always – charming, inspiring and full of story (and clever planting)…
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And highlights for me in the Great Pavilion were… the potatoes. I bloody loved the potatoes. But then I do have them in my book title!…
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… the frill on these tulips…
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… feeling I’d walked into a science fiction movie…
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…before I really did walk into a science project…
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Other highlights were the Fragrance Garden from Harrods (designed by Sheena Seeks)
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… seeing the Great Chelsea Garden Challenge winner, Sean Murray, surrounded by female fans at every moment…
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…imagining waking up to this in my garden…
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… dreaming of this in the sun…
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… but being cheered up by these colours in the Artisan Retreats…
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… and longing to climb these ladders…
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… and then walking home behind this…
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… and even when I reached Sloane Square, finding the show still wasn’t over as I bumped into Alyssa from Marian Boswall Landscapes making this beautiful fairy tale garden in the window of Hampton’s Estate Agents…

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I LOVE CHELSEA IN BLOOM! I’m not an expert, but I think this may be the best Chelsea for a long long time. I can’t wait for the judging results now.

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Cauliflower cheese with Charles Dickens

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Charles Dickens isn’t an author I normally associate with writing about gardens. The grimy back streets around Covent Garden might come closest, but last week, recovering from a nearly all-night election watch, I visited the Charles Dickens Museum in his childhood home in Doughty Street…

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… and had a pick-me-up bowl of cauliflower cheese soup in the garden.

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And what a little treasure this city centre garden is…

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Hmmm. Just so this isn’t a post about ‘writer eats soup’, here is something I found about Charles Dickens and ferns. But mostly so I can revel in the word pteridomania. Poor Mary, not worthy of a fernery…

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If you click here, you can see a picture of Charles Dickens and Mary in the rose garden of his Kent house, Gad’s Hill.

But anyway, if you are in Doughty Street, or near, this is a hidden gem of a garden with delicious food and lovely staff. Thoroughly recommended. And what a privilege to sit there, as I did, and write in Charles Dickens’s garden, even if it is to be reminded that ‘spring is the time of year when it is summer in the sun and winter in the shade’…

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