Make a point of visiting us weekly!        Tell a friend about us. Growing Stuff  Articles:   26. The Chelsea Effect To return to front ‘Growing Stuff’ page, please CLICK HERE

From the outset, when we set up Rochford Life, we decided on having these “Growing Stuff” articles if for no other reason than we believe gardening is healthy, therapeutic and creative and does us good. So ever since, we have used these pages to encourage everyone, especially beginners, to ‘have a go’. The challenge to ‘think out of the box’, as the modern phrase goes, especially comes over the airwaves in May of every year with the advent of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. This year we decided to give it a go and see if it did live up to all the TV hype - and it does, but perhaps not as we originally thought. So here are two pages of Chelsea 2017



‘Chelsea’ is set up in the grounds of the Chelsea Royal Hospital and I have a feeling, if you tried to see every single thing in the show you’d probably end up in the hospital.

‘Chelsea’ is not everyone’s cup of tea. It is not for the unfit, the weak, the really-aged, the infirm - although there were a number in wheelchairs, but it was not easy going - and I suspect we fall into at least one or two of those categories - but we managed it and it was worth it. Almost certainly you wouldn't want to go to Chelsea if you can’t cope with people and can’t shuffle-walk….

A problem in presenting this article is that everything about Chelsea is visual and trying to take photos in a massive crowd (do you want to see someone else's camera or back of head?) and in bright sunshine means we didn’t always end up with a good result.

But presentation is a strange thing. Having seen several evenings’ worth of TV presentation beforehand, we found ourselves surprised by what we we found there. Two of the main show gardens we found disappointingly mundane. Another two we had written off previously we found delightful and indeed amazing. Many of the smaller gardens seemed to have so much more going for them than some of the seven larger ones.

Having said that, the truth is that every single one of the gardens - Show, Artisan, Feel Good and Fresh - are an incredible feat of work, and perfection is the goal so that even a few dusty leaves ends up in a garden failing to achieve the desired ‘Gold’. Anguish seems to follow silver-gilt, silver and bronze but every garden there IS a work of art and truly amazing.

And there comes the challenge, to think bigger, to think differently, to up your game creatively.

It would be fascinating to know how many people leave Chelsea and think differently about what they have back home.

And if you think it costs money to think differently, think again. Few of us will re-sculpture our gardens like these (many of which cost a fortune to create in the three weeks run-up to the show.)

Start by reading our article 1 - Growing on the Cheap - and become someone who sees something and says, “Er.. You wouldn’t like me to clear those bricks / timber etc. away, would you?”  Some of the creativity in some gardens was either scrap or collected materials. Think differently!

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…. ideas, ideas, and more ideas….