RHS Chelsea Flower Show & our round-up
The Chelsea Flower show is the horticultural equivalent to London Fashion Week, where new flowers, designs and ideas are showcased and big trends emerge. Attended by more than 150,000 visitors each year, the show is an amazing stage of beautiful gardens, flowers, landscapes and other horticultural displays.
We’ve been observing with interest and, while we weren’t lucky enough to attend this year, we’ve been hoovering up all the coverage, poised to soak up the inspiration and bring new ideas to our appreciative Flower Lounge customers.
The peony has been by far and away the star of the show, a real favourite of the designers, with roses also featuring heavily in their creations. Other popular flowers include pompom alliums, rural foxgloves, stunning irises and fragrant lavender.
Pastel shades have predominated but the show has seen a healthy amount of green. In fact, English woodlands are big news with fern, heather, oak and bracken making a significant appearance. This homage to nature has been a strong theme for many with The Telegraph’s ‘captured landscape’ Garden winning the Best Show Garden. Designed by previous winner Andy Sturgeon, the garden explored terrain through the ages, reflecting the planet’s geological history.
Other themes included health and happiness, with designer Ann-Marie Powell demonstrating the positive healing power of plants and how gardening is good for the soul and futuristic vs traditional such as Hay Hwang’s Smart garden featuring the latest in lighting and audio-visual technology. While we can’t offer you flashing lights and soothing water features in our bouquets, we are excited that both the garden-style Lavish and ultramodern Lustre trends we identified earlier this year look set to continue.
Some of the highlights for us have been Marks & Spencer’s ‘Spirit of Summer: Carnival of Flowers’ exhibit, which used bold, radiant colour and explored flowers from around the world. It’s a style we love creating, guaranteeing to brighten any office (or anyone’s day for that matter!). We also couldn’t fail to be wowed by the exceptional handiwork that went into creating the show-stopping floral dresses. They featured alstroemeria, spray roses, achillea, astilbe and phlox, together with Peruvian ferns, leather leaf and umbrella fern – hauteculture no less (see what we did there??). We love it when flowers and fashion collide – see the beautiful headdresses we created for our Styal Lodge shoot in October last year.
Attention always has to be paid to young, upcoming floral designers and we love the winner of this year’s RHS Young Chelsea Florist of the Year, Kay Willis’ work in her daring and striking headdress creation – not sure we’ll have many orders for that one, but so clever! And finally, we have to give a high five to Mark Entwistle, one of our freelance florists, who made up part of the Interflora team and won gold no less for their ‘Open Church’ design in the Great Pavilion, featuring two floral bells, beautiful feature windows and three suspended floral chandeliers.
The show typically launches new flowers too and this year was no exception. The ‘Charismatic’ ‘Roald Dahl’ rose made its debut to mark 100 years since the writer’s birth and is peach-coloured in homage to his novel, ‘James and the Giant Peach’, his first literary success. The ‘Princess Charlotte’ chrysanthemum was also amongst new varieties, in honour of the royal baby, and no doubt was top of the Queen, William and Kate’s must-see list when they went to visit on Monday. We hope they noticed the fantastic floral arches created in honour of Her Majesty’s 90th birthday, one of which was crafted by the super-talented Shane Connolly, whom I had the pleasure of meeting at last month’s Chapel Designers course.
Whatever your level of gardening interest or flower passion, we urge you to visit one of the RHS flower shows this summer. Combined with a picnic and a cheeky glass of Pimms, it is a perfect day out and ideal for soaking up some genuine inspiration.