23 June 2018

Chelsea Flower Show

There's no better way to celebrate the start of the British summer than visiting the Chelsea Flower Show.  I spent a lovely afternoon there with my mama, followed by wandering through the pretty Chelsea in Bloom streets at dusk, and dinner at The Ivy Chelsea Garden.

Emma Louise Layla at The Ivy Chelsea Garden during Chelsea in Bloom - London lifestyle blog

We went on the Thursday afternoon and stayed until closing, soaking up all the vibrant colour, heady fragrance and inspiring designs.  As someone who can spend hours on end taking photos of flowers, it's heaven, from the innovative show gardens to the bountiful Great Pavilion filled with the best nurseries in Britain: pristine delphiniums, rows of orchids in every colour and size, delicate hydrangeas, a rainbow of huge clematis, perfect peonies, showy alliums, and a breathtaking rambling rose display from David Austin Roses.

Pink peonies at Chelsea Flower Show 2018 - London lifestyle blog

Back outside, there's something for everyone in the show gardens: compact inner-city designs, naturalistic planting and overflowing flowerbeds, concrete blocks and minimalist architecture, lots of use of water and relaxed seating areas, and thought-provoking, therapeutic spaces illustrating the importance of mental health and wellbeing, and what a dramatic impact nature can have on both.

Blue flowers at Chelsea Flower Show 2018 - London lifestyle blog

Our favourite show garden was Mark Gregory's gold medal winning Welcome to Yorkshire Garden, complete with a wisteria-covered limestone farmhouse, babbling brook, wild woodland, buttercup meadow and dry stone wall.  It was hard to believe it was only constructed a fortnight before.  I loved the colourful planting in Tony Wood's Urban Flow Garden - another gold medal winner - with inky blue irises and royal purple lupins in contrast with vivid euphorbia and bright green foliage.

The Welcome to Yorkshire Garden at Chelsea Flower Show 2018 - London lifestyle blog

Another favourite was Jonathan Snow's silver gilt medal winner The Trailfinders South African Wine Estate, with its pretty white cottage and manicured garden packed with foxgloves and roses, bordered with vineyards and native fynbos landscape beyond.  After five hours of strolling around the Royal Hospital grounds - and a pit stop for ice cream and a glass of champagne - it was time for dinner. Continuing the floral theme, there was only one place for it...

Chelsea Flower Show 2018 - UK lifestyle blog

The Ivy has teamed up with British designer Jenny Packham for her take on the restaurant's iconic floral installation, resulting in a stunning ombré flower wall featuring roses, peonies and mimosas from white to cream, pale primrose to bright lemon and vibrant sunshine yellow.  I ordered the yellowfin tuna carpaccio (my favourite) and the burrata, washed down with a glass of golden Chablis.  What a lovely day in SW3.  Chelsea is the world’s most prestigious flower show - whether you're green-fingered, a gardening novice or just want to see what all the fuss is about, it really is a must-visit in London.  See you next year!

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