May’s Chelsea Flower Show Marks The Start Of The London Season

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May's Chelsea Flower Show Marks The Start Of The London Season

In Britain, the month of May in the UK means the Chelsea Flower Show . It’s the start of the London season but, more than that, it’s the epitome of the complex relationship between city and countryside that has defined the U.K. since the Industrial Revolution. Plus Pimms, panama hats (should the sun be out) and umbrellas (if it rains); it’s held in May after all. The Chelsea Flower Show blends artistry, tradition and spectacle. Photo credit: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images Everyone except hayfever sufferers aim to head through the turnstiles to Ranelagh Gardens where, over five days, hedge fund managers and horticulturalists rub shoulders in the grounds of the Royal Hospital , set up in 1692 to look after retired soldiers. The Queen meeting BBC presenters Chris Evans and Mary Berry at the 2017 Chelsea Flower Show. Photo credit: Julian Simmonds/WPA Pool/ Getty Images Several names appear year after year, often in partnership with charities; M&G is a main sponsor, Morgan Stanley is another regular. And the lure of Chelsea is hard to give up. After a steady run, with a gold medal and Best in Show award in 2013, Trailfinders decided to stop. This year it’s back with a South African winelands garden designed by Jonathan Snow, a first timer at Chelsea. Demand for tickets to the Chelsea Flower Show is always high. Photo credit: Jack Taylor/Getty Images It has to be said that the gardens can be somewhat surreal. This year, Skin Deep is sponsored by Harley Street Skin Care , a leading dermatology group. Its garden will use over 200 concrete blocks to represent different skin conditions: As designer Robert Barker says: “The garden demonstrates all the changes our skin undergoes by a textural planting scheme, while small pools of water add a reflective quality and represent how important water is to maintaining a healthy skin. I am really hoping that the depth of our message will shine through the design.” Panama hats are preferred at the Chelsea Flower Show. Photo credit: Jack Taylor/Getty Images As well as the 10 show gardens, there are a larger number of artisan gardens, and a new emphasis this year on smaller urban gardens. The Great Pavillion is filled with nurseries from around the world. Tickets are always scarce. Mondays are for royalty, press and the sort of celebrities that have varieties of roses named after them. Tuesday and Wednesday are for RHS members, although if you have an invitation from a sponsor, you’ll circumvent this requirement. Academy award-winner Judi Dench with a rose named after her at the 2017 Chelsea Flower Show. Photo credit: Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty Images) Thursday and Friday sees members of the public allowed in. And Saturday is often the most fun, when plants are sold off at bargain prices. New this year is the Friday Late Night, which sees jazz and a food market make the most of the twilight hours. On the last day, members of the public can buy plants. Photo […]