The Chelsea Flower Show is the best flower show on the planet. Held in May every year in the grounds of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, it attracts visitors and exhibitors from all over the world.
RHS members get to see the show first on the Tuesday and Wednesday, with the show being open to the public on Thursday to Saturday. Saturday is when the great garden sell-off happens and exhibitors sell the gorgeous plants from their stands.
The main avenue is where you will find the large show gardens the headline grabbing inspirational dream outdoor spaces. Sometimes a popular colour scheme will be seen in common but not always. Big name designers and sponsors occupy this area of the show and it is where most visitors are most keen to see.
The show also sees new plants launched. In 2010 for example, Hardy's Cottage Garden Plants of Whitchurch in Hampshire launched a new gaillardia called 'Naomi Sunshine' a compact flower in a soft orange colour. The plant is free flowering and likes to be in full sun.
Artists also have stands where you can buy beautiful accessories for your garden, such as sculptor Philip Simmonds from Chippenham in Wiltshire who makes beautiful, elegant urns and pots in gorgeous colours, including a fantastic blue. For the 2010 show, floral artist Ann Swan from Devizes had a stand. Her paintings have been bought by royalty and look great in any home.
There are plenty of trade stands too selling accessories from wellies and gloves to furniture and gazebos.
The press give the show plenty of coverage, starting in full on the Sunday night with the BBC. A press day is held on the Monday where the national, local and specialist press get a preview of the event, access to some of the gardens and stars a plenty.
Famous people such as Ringo Star are regulars. Famous garden presenters are also about on that day, such as Carol Klein and Alan Titchmarsh who present the television coverage.
Queen Elizabeth visits Chelsea on the Monday, attending with various members of her family. She walks around the showground and stops to meet exhibitors of interest.
The Chelsea Flower Show is a spectacular not to be missed!
If you can't wait until this year's show to see some flowers, pop into your local botanical garden or florist - they will be easy to find online. If you don't know where they are located - just google a local search such as 'botanical gardens Hampshire' or 'florist Southampton' and get your flower fix.
The 2011 Chelsea Flower Show will be on 24th-28th May.