Fringe Box



Beekeeper’s Notes: The Astonishing Chelsea Flower Show

Published on: 1 Oct, 2021
Updated on: 2 Oct, 2021

Hugh Coakley keeps bees in Worplesdon

My better half and I had a trip to the Chelsea Flower Show last week. Not being much of a gardener, my observations were less than horticultural.

Observation one, the ladies toilets had long queues when gents didn’t have to wait at all to spend a penny. As the Prudie from Poldark says about injustice: “T’aint right, t’aint fair, t’aint fit, t’aint proper”.

And Observation two, it was amazing to see bees and insects out in force everywhere on the huge site, even though it had only just been established. It didn’t take them long to suss out a good thing.

Library picture.

It was stiff with expertise at every turn and I definitely missed most of the finer points at the show gardens and exhibits. I probably learned more by watching the BBC’s experts from Gardeners’ World explaining the themes and thinking put into the individual plots than milling around with the enthusiastic and happy crowds.

Sustainability was a theme throughout. Manicured lawns were out and wilder, insect-encouraging planting were very much in evidence.

A show that size, and only here for a week, is likely to have a huge carbon footprint but hopefully, we will look after our garden in a more insect-friendly way.

The size of the showground, nearly three acres for the Royal Pavilion alone, is staggering. The human effort and ingenuity to put on the show is astonishing with 8,000 people over 25 days said to be involved in bringing it all together.

Last non-horticultural observation is that I’m not sure I would go again, especially at £94.50 per person,

But it was a great experience to see what is billed as the “greatest flower show in the world”.

I can believe it.

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