I obviously hope you enjoy browsing through the postings on here - do feel free to leave comments as it's always good to see who's visiting and to hear about other people's experiences - after all you never stop learning do you?

If you've any gardening questions or you live in Brittany and are looking for some gardening help - be it design work, planting or general gardening or you simply would like some advice, please don't hesitate to CONTACT ME or call me on 0033 661 77 23 89 (from UK) or 0661 77 23 89 (from France).

Happy gardening!

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Celebrating 100 Years of The RHS Chelsea Flower Show

This is a stunning book, which is beautifully written by RHS Historian, Brent Elliott and takes the reader on an insightful journey through the 100 years of The RHS Chelsea Flower Show's existence and also includes the many years which lead up to the very first show.

This book could be as easily read cover to cover as it could be "dipped in and out of" being packed with interesting information as well as being beautifully illustrated with a great collection of past and present photos of show gardens, garden designers, growers, plants, famous visitors to the show, ticketing and show posters as just a few of the subjects which I enjoyed. There are far too many to mention them all here.
I've tried to pick out just some of my favourite parts of the book to give you a flavour of what to expect... to discover the rest you'll just have to go and buy a copy or give a few unsubtle hints to friends and family to buy it for you for a birthday or Christmas... or even as a surprise gift!
The subject of the weather is never far away from the minds of both gardeners and those organising a show like Chelsea! With so much in the news this year about the weather, it was amusing to find this Cartoon from the 1829 "Horticultural Fete" as it was known as then - showing some disastrous wet weather that year - the Morning Post had reported "when the doors were opened, what a rush took place! The standing nearly ankle-deep in water, coming from wet gravel; shrieks were dreadful and the loss of shoes particularly annoying!"  So extremes in weather existed back in 1829 too.

I loved this other cartoon - by W K Haselden for the Daily Mirror on 20th May 1936 - "Dreams at Chelsea Show" - it is probably even true today!


There were some great pages showing adverts for some of the interwar garden machinery - I was surprised to find that reasonably sophisticated garden tools existed at such an early date - the Little Wonder" hedge clipper caught my eye - I bet the guy ached from head to toe after using that for a day!

The other product so obviously influenced by the tank is the Oxford "Roadless" Barrow shown below - easy to imagine these being useful on early landscaping projects resembling something of the Somme Battlefields! Seeing these helps one to appreciate what we have now although I have little doubt that these products would have done an excellent job!


I couldn't leave out the "Bunty House" from my posting... I guess this was an extremely posh version of a Wendy House... being supposedly fireproof, a sporting or fishing bungalow or suitable for open-air treatment - the mind boggles!!

There is plenty more on the early years of Chelsea as well as a great record of everything up to the present day. For the purpose of this review I've concentrated more on the early years... you only need to wait a few more days and I'm sure 2013 at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show will have its own story to tell. 
There's only two more things I'd like to add here - firstly I'd like to mention the quality of the actual book - its presentation is fabulous and I can't recommend this enough. Secondly - if you're tempted to buy a copy - they are available at the RHS Online Shop or via Amazon.
Do hope you enjoy reading this and if you get a copy do post a quick comment....


Merisi said...

Thank you for this truly interesting history lesson on the Chelsea Show!

Miranda Bell said...

Thanks Merisi - good to have your kind comments and so glad you enjoyed the posting... despite having never been to Chelsea yet I really enjoyed this book - amazing to see how design, gardening and plants etc have progressed so much.. Let me know if you get the book!