RHS Chelsea Flower Show Press launch

At the last minute I managed to get myself along to the official press
launch of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show held this week at the M & G
headquarters in London. This time last year hardly a soul knew me, so it was
really lovely to be greeted as one of ‘them’ and know many faces after a busy
year working with the BBC gardening shows. 

Everyone’s favourite raconteur James Alexander-Sinclair was off in sunny
climes and was sadly missed but the ever-flamboyant powerhouse that is the
wonderful Ann-Marie Powell took up the reins of presenting the show gardens
this year, ably assisted (with previously unbeknownst wit) from the
nicest-boy-on-the-block Matt Keightley. 

RHS Director-General Sue Biggs revealed some additions to the show this
year including a mass display of crocheted poppies, a floral arch at the
Bull-ring entrance to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday year and a
new award to be presented for the Best Constructors, something long-overdue.

It was officially revealed that Ann-Marie Powell will be creating the
official RHS exhibition garden this year, following the success of Sean Murray,
winner of The Great Chelsea Garden Challenge, who created a garden last
year.  The ‘Greening Grey Britain
campaign is being championed once again with what is sure to be a vibrant and
beautifully planted garden. ‘Health, happiness and horticulture’ is the message
at its heart and Ann-Marie says “I hope it will
inspire visitors and viewers to get involved in Greening Grey Britain. Too many
people are paving over their front gardens but anybody can have a beautiful
front garden.”

Ann-Marie Powell - RHS Greening Grey Britain Garden for Health, Happiness and Horticulture

The famous herb-queen Jekka McVicar, alongside being
announced as a new RHS ambassador, will be joining the show garden ranks at
last minute, after some initial problems with sponsorship. As you’d expect she
is designing a herb-packed garden, also based on the 3 H’s theme.

Jekka McVicar - A Modern Apothecary

YoungHort co-founder Jamie Butterworth was also
announced as a new ambassador for the RHS so hopefully he’ll bring some youth
and vitality to the gardening world!

At the other end of the spectrum we saw the brilliant
Alan Titchmarsh lead chats with brilliant nurserymen and with the age-defying
Mary Berry who is delighted to be having a pretty lemon rose named after her by
Harkness roses.

There’s never enough time at these events to chat to
everyone you want to meet; such a great bunch of people in the Garden Shows
circle and I’m looking forward to another year as part of it.

(Images courtesy of RHS Press)

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