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Traveling to other gardens, botanical and private, is great fun in its comparisons and contrasts – what we mutually can grow, what other folks consider special, and the plants we lust after because we’ve found them impossible for us to grow.
Such was my recent trip to England, France, and Switzerland.
Here’re some highlights regarding the Chelsea Flower Show. Definitely a “bucket list” item for gardeners!
Veggies. Vegetables grown in greenhouses and containers looked lush and plentiful. I enjoyed answering visitors’ queries they muttered to themselves as they marveled at new plants, especially in-flower and fruiting “California grown” boysenberries.
Herbs. An intensively-planted display glorified herbs as ornamentals, highlighting their variegated foliage, many shades of green, and blossoms. A strawberry in everblooming-pink was a special delight, even though it didn’t promise much in the way of edibility. And a lavender bed – literally!
Alliums and Amaryllis. Statuesque specimens!
Begonias and Fuchsias. Although most of us have a filtered-light nook where we can ensconce a begonia or two, these gargantuan specimens made me feel almost Lilliputian.
Dye Plants. Wonderfully ornamental display of plants used for dyes.
Huechera. So many color variations!
School Gardens. The color- and lesson-filled school garden display gratifyingly exemplified why teach kids (and adults) where their food comes from, and students enthused about their projects.
What We Could Use More Of: The Low Allergy Garden
This display and brochure provided a listing of what to avoid planting if allergies are a part of your life.
Of course, our “bad” plants are largely different from England’s…..
What Englanders Consider Special: Judged Dry-Arroyo Garden, Container Cactus
Rain-soaked Englanders marveled at the judged dry-arroyo garden that was so exquisitely real that I at first discounted it as nothing special since I live near Pasadena's Arroyo Seco and wandered there as a youngster, taking my first photographs, But then I reconsidered the creation, remembering that I was in rain-plentiful Merry Olde England. With these "new" eyes, I became totally impressed that everything had been imported and placed and planted, resulting in a very real Eaton-Canyon lookalike.
Inside the vendors’ tent, the container cactus display attracted huge crowds and purchases.
What I Lusted After: Meconopsis Poppy
For years, I’d seen photos in seed catalogs, and now here the plants were for real! Astoundingly dark clear brilliant blue! We’re familiar with the “Iceland” poppy shape, but this blue is beyond transfixing. I could barely contain myself from touching the blooms to assure myself that they were really in front of me in all their glory. Wow!