Not very much to look at apart from a lot of backs and blazers? 

Unless you’re prepared for a fight that is!

 We must be back at Chelsea:

The dear old RHS, bless them. The map scarcely seemed to have changed from last year:

Lesley and I gave up looking at it and just found everything anyway.

Found being the operative word!  This really is all I saw of Andy Sturgeon’s Best in Show garden:

Hope Lesley has that one covered! Here she is in the foreground, striding out womanfully:

Go girl go, there’s 15 gardens to look at down there and thousands to wade through before you get coffee at the end. Talking of which:

There is no where for people to sit and drink the coffee on sale here.

But just beyond the stall is an official to see that you don’t sneak through the barrier onto this emerald turf to get yourself some rest:

Back in the throng there were some entertaining sights:

Embarrassed by having to sell this ostrich feather sun shade?  No, not him!

How horrible can a hundred Heucheras look?

Just a peek has turned this woman’s hair bright red:

The Queen has been passing by on her inspection tour:


And dropped some of her sparklies.

Do you mean ‘Jimmy Choos’?

But truth to tell, the laughs were few and far between.

The crowds were frightful:

Mirrors relected and refracted back our own gawping selves:

Even some of the surely unnecessarily large conglomeration of umbrellas in the marquee seemed determined to leg it:

And what should have been been a rewarding and stimulating professional experience became a grind of sheer endurance.

Which is a shame.

What’s to do?

Do the RHS do any research into visitor experience? If not, they should. There were some pretty exasperated and disappointed punters in that crowd.

An aggrieved pensioner said to me that she’d be better off at home watching it on telly:

No dear, not really. Because that is yet more virtual experience and it is the telly which has done this. And then having attracted the hoards the tv people make them even more crowded by filming  in the midst of the visitors. Can it really be necessary to do so much filming of links and trivia in the busy parts of the day? 

Some one else said that there could be a flow system. And quite a few of us ended up discussing the sheer frustration of it all.

One person remembered that show gardens had been more widely dispersed few years ago. So maybe spread it around? Does it really make sense to have two potential gold medal winners side by side. Could the selling stands not be more mixed up with the show ones. Why are the hospitality areas so spacious and the fast food outlets so cramped?

The plight of those in wheelchairs was particularly evident. Could there not be ‘a senior citizens and challeged day.’Could there be a professional day so that the serious education work which the RHS believes in is further assisted and not hindered by the social side that has developed?

What was also disappointing was to patiently work your way to the front and find a gathering of freeloaders in the show garden drinking champagne in midfield:  

Now, that could be stopped.

We noticed that the raised up stands such as this provencale number:

were significantly more visible. 

So there were plenty of ideas even in the small group discussion we had. 

I think the RHS should be interested in such discontent and what is certainly necessary is that they sort this out and fast.

In the meantime, Lesley and I are nothing if not resourceful. We handed out our personal ‘Best in Show’ to this vulgar monstosity:

Lesley had a kip in a stone. Aaahh, bless! 

 And I legged it to the troop carrier hovering above the conservatory:

Of course it all ended quite traditionally with people carrying off show booty: 

Middle England must be full of those metal spirals, but I hadn’t seen the trio of pots that looks like a cruet before. And they’ve copied each others purchases perfectly. I bet they ditched the lot  before they hit the Underground.


PS We hope to follow with 3 successive blogs which review the courtyard, urban and show gardens!