Getting closer to Chelsea Flower Show

The exhibit lawns have been given their first mowing – albeit with hand clippers, and the bulb leaves mostly removed to reveal the plants that have been hidden. The crocus leaves were naturally withering and there are crocus seed pods poking through the soil as little brown bumps.

The exhibit lawns aren’t looking as good as they might (or as hoped). What with growing under glass in a very dull and cold winter, many of the plants are slow to really wake up and are being quite coy about stretching out and filling the space on offer. A few have disappeared completely, but that’s to be expected. Not all the plants initially used will survive. It’s part of finding out what plants suit the environment they find themselves in.

Chelsea Exhibit Lawns April 29th.

Chelsea Exhibit Lawns April 29th.

The grass lawns we will be using are looking fine, although the pure grass lawn has already had to be cut eight times and the natural/freedom lawn five times. Its one of the differences between the lawn styles. Grass based lawns need much more mowing.

My fingers are crossed for some warm sunshine to speed the grass-free lawns on to that all important Chelsea week when they must look good.

The lawn outdoors is looking just fine. It seems outdoors agrees with the grass-free construct much more than the artificial environment of a glasshouse.

Trial lawn April 29th

Trial lawn April 29th

One of the things about the trial lawn is, the more you look the more you see. Macro scale photos don’t quite capture the small details, such as…..

Close up in the trial lawn April 29th

Close up in the trial lawn April 29th

The bugle (Ajuga reptans) is close to opening its buds and the ornamental daisies (Bellis perennis) have crossed with the wild form to produce quite a mix of colours and floral shapes. You can just see the wood pigeon pecked clover (Trifolium repens) is starting to recover (the brownish red leaves), and once your eye gets going you might notice buttercup leaves (Ranunculus repens), Fox & Cubs leaves (Pilosella aurantiaca), Hedgerow Cranesbill leaves (Geranium pyrenaicum) and Spotted hawkweed (Hieracium maculatum). No, that’s not grass in the background, it’s the remaining¬† crocus leaves.

I’ve recently had a few visitors to the lawn. The planty people have all gone down on their haunches to get a closer view and in some cases a feel and touch. The non-planty folk have all expressed reticence to come walk with me amid the daisies. This has been something of a common response. It seems people just don’t feel that comfortable walking on flowers, or is it walking with me … I wonder!



Chelsea changes

The exhibit lawn for Chelsea is looking spring-like at the moment. It may fool the weather into behaving like Spring outside the glasshouses.

April starts in the exhibit.

April starts with blue and yellow in the exhibit.

There is another change too.

We have just been asked to change our location in the RHS Environment section. You will now find us on the other side of the outdoor entrance/exit to the section. Sparsholt College will be in the place we were originally allocated. There are some other changes to the exhibit that the RHS have asked for too. With only six weeks to go, the need for changes now puts me just a little on edge. Hey ho…

Marquee Move

May the good gods of flower shows smile on our relocation and cover the cost of all the changes….



Wood pigeons get the clover munchies.

It seems our resident wood pigeons have discovered the red leaved clover in the trial grass-free lawn. Wood pigeons (Columba palumbus) are rather partial to clover, it makes up a substantial part of their diet, but they may have been fooled for a while by the red colour of the ornamental clover (Trifolium repens) in the flower lawn. Not any longer!

Not a single leaf left in sight. It seems if a selective ‘mowing’ is required for some exuberantly spreading clover in the future (and clover is possibly the trickiest of all the plant species I’ve used in the lawn due to highly variable growth rates) I will know which birds to attract to keep it in check.

Wood Pigeon mowing...

Wood Pigeon selective mowing…

I’m pleased to report that the pigeons left their usual highly fertile tip after their delicious red leaved meal.