RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017 - 1

A Chelsea experience greatly diminished in terms of the number of sponsors and gardens, but the RHS are still managing to put on a top drawer horticultural event worthy of its heritage. Knowing how quickly this year’s tickets sold out, many visitors might even welcome the increased space to sit, relax and mull over what they’ve seen. Here are some of my first impressions of the show.

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Dreaming of dahlias

Spring has sprung, the air is thick with the sound of lawnmowers, and wherever you look in the garden something is calling for your attention. It’s easy to get lost in busyness, but whatever you do, don’t forget to make time for dahlias. You’ll thank yourself for it later in the year.

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The handsome hellebore

As snowdrops grab the headlines after Christmas, the hellebores quietly assemble while the attention is focussed elsewhere. Frankly, I think a hellebore is much more fun than a snowdrop, though neither are as innocent as they might at first appear.

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Wandering through Wisley

Only forty minutes away from me – traffic allowing – it borders on the criminal that I don’t find myself at Wisley more often, particularly when there’s always so much to see. This morning I was there for a meeting, following which I took the opportunity to take a stroll through some of the gardens before hurling the car back into the melee on the M25.

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Orange is the happiest colour

According to Frank Sinatra, orange is the happiest of colours, but while Ol’ Blue Eyes may have loved to be surrounded by it in his garden, orange is a something of a departure for me. This summer I've found myself embracing orange with an ardour suggestive of a wish to make up for lost time.

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Cool in the shade

A July heatwave, following a June washout. Having been caught dragging its feet, the year seems now to be charging full tilt towards high summer; baking heat, parched lawns and rock hard, bone juddering soil. We’re not quite there yet, though, and before the hot colours arrive en masse to dominate in the latter part of the month, I’m allowing myself a week or so to wallow in cool pastel shades.

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