Chelsea 2013 – The Pavilion

The pavilion is a great showcase for good nurseries all displaying their plants growing to perfection; the winners of the medals are always the nurseries where the owners are passionate about what they do.  A chance for the ‘big names’ to strut their stuff, Hilliers again presented us with so much to look at and it rivalled some of the show gardens for the class of its design and planting.

Vibrant colour and well-grown plants on the Hilliers stand

Vibrant colour and well-grown plants on the Hilliers stand

The cooler weather may have made it difficult for the growers to get plants ready for the show but at least it meant that they remained in tip-top condition during the week.

I noticed a new trend this year; many were selling ‘something’ not just taking orders or selling catalogues.  Seeds were an obvious choice even from nurseries whose main business is actually selling plants; others were selling small packs containing sample plants (I think they were rooted cuttings and so sidestepped the rule about NOT selling plants.  I sympathise with them, the cost of being at Chelsea must be enormous, a large percentage of their trade for a smaller nursery.  Of course they want to be present to establish themselves in the eyes of the visitors but perhaps they need the opportunity of some instant payback.  Selling something there and then is necessary for them.  Perhaps the RHS needs to address this.  I am not suggesting that the Pavilion becomes a giant market place, but with all the technology available today perhaps one could order and pay for plants at the stand and collect the plants from a collection area.  Some of the bulb companies take orders at the show and you give credit card details, payment being taken when the bulbs are dispatched; this could also work for plants by mail order which would surely encourage everyone to buy from committed nurserymen rather than buy later from unhelpful garden centres that are mostly just bringing plants from Holland, and we all know the problems that this causes in the long run.

I always head for the Tulips displays, there is nothing like seeing the colours ‘in life’ to encourage me to begin thinking about my autumn bulb order now.  All the tulips were in excellent condition, and why wouldn’t they be, they are still flowering in many UK gardens.  The following caught my eye, but I am very happy with my selections this year that came from seeing other bloggers tulips actually growing.  So what tulips worked well for you this year?

Tulip Curley Sue

Tulip Curley Sue

T. Pink Diamond, Queen of Night, Ciy of Vancouver

T. Pink Diamond, Queen of Night, City of Vancouver

Tulip Marilyn

Tulip Marilyn

Tulip Avignon

Tulip Avignon

Does anyone know the name of this? my system failed

Does anyone know the name of this? my system failed

My most interesting conversation was with the knowledgeable staff on the East Malling Reseach stand.  They are doing research into the problems that could be caused by warmer winters.  I have a similar problem; the winters here aren’t reliably cold enough for me to grow apples and pears so I will be very interested when their site is updated to included chill factor requirements for different varieties.  Also I hadn’t realised that ALL dwarfing rootstock trees don’t have a tap root, which for trees planted in drought prone area can make a huge difference to its survival.

Dwarfing root stock

Dwarfing root stock

A couple of other plants attracted my attention, maybe they’ll find their way into the garden next year.

Ixia Mabel

Ixia Mabel

Dahlia Magenta Star

Dahlia Magenta Star

19 thoughts on “Chelsea 2013 – The Pavilion

  1. Flower shows for me are almost an addition so thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and pictures. I shop the small nurseries to support them and the last several years have been really perilous and difficult for them to survive. I like to see them exhibit at our local shows for the fresh new ideas and approaches they introduce so I agree that bending a bit to try to see they can participate is a good goal.

  2. They are all so beautiful, I cannot pick a favorite. We don’t have much luck with the return of tulip bulbs so I don’t get very crazy. Wish I could because they are spectacular ~maria

  3. Love your choice of plants Christina, the Dahlia and the Ixia are beautiful and just the colour I think of your anemone! The unknown tulip would look lovely with the tulips in my tin bath, I must keep my eyes open for that one. It’s lovely to have so many posts from all the people who went to Chelsea, to get their ideas to add to the BBC experience, thank you!

  4. Intersting about the dwarf root stock … perhaps anpther good reason to buy fruit trees from Archeologia Arborea near Città di Castello where they are all old local varieties?

    • Maybe, but even old varieties are often on dwarfing rootstocks now. Here in Italy so many trees and shrubs for that matter are grafted. But I will look into the placeyou mention. Christina

  5. It hadn’t really occurred to me until you replied yesterday – that the plant marquee at Chelsea is unlike that at Malvern or Cardiff, and you can’t buy plants! It must really hit the smaller nurseries hard. It’s odd to think of visiting a plant show without coming away with armfuls of ‘souvenirs’… 😉 though does make sense logistically. Still, perhaps they could indeed come up with a system…

    • It is OK for the larger nurseries like Hillier and David Austen etc. who can just write all the expenses off against tax but for the smaller businesses it must be really hard – they want to be there but the costs must hit them hard. Christina

  6. That dahlia is very pretty and I liked the tulip Marylin a lot. I love the display garden on the first pictures, I also like the purple gray (?) of the shed and its shape, I also liked the planting, although too much pink for my taste. But I can’t stand all that pink cushions that makes the overall installation looking like a doll’s house. I like the panels they used on the background of the cube pergola, I might copy that for my pergola…

  7. Many show around here have display gardens and also a marketplace. But then I guess we Yanks are more commercially inclined. I have seen so many displays featuring pillows, rugs and such. Muddy paws would make short work of that!

    • You can buy plants at other RHS shows, but the Chelsea flower show (the flagship show) is special in that no plant sales are allowed. You can buy catalogues, seeds and place orders but that’s it! Christina

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