Joe and I arrived just after 7am, nice and early, and filled with excitement and a little interpretation at possibly being interviewed. Following a very quick and efficient signing in process we were told to have a little wander before being seated for the talks by the guest speakers.
After been shown into the beautifully decorated hall, served a lot of fresh coffee and an amazing and very healthy breakfast of fruits and pastries we were introduced to various people in the arboriculture and horticulture industries. A very interesting and diverse bunch of people.
After breakfast, Adam Frost, a famous garden designer and Chelsea winner, began the talks and let the heads of each table introduce themselves and their fields of interest. Three guest speakers then gave talks on their relative fields of interest which covered the future of horticulture, technology in horticulture and using social media to raise awareness of horticultural issues. This things can sometimes be a little long winded and tiresome but actually it was incredibly interesting and the speakers were all very charismatic and funny.
Once the talks were over we assembled for photos and a little networking with the other guests but as informed by Jessica, everyone was itching to get out into the show before it got too crowded so it was decided to skip interviews and do the questions by email later. We were then released to enjoy Chelsea in all its vibrance and sunny glory but not before getting a goody bag with the usual promotional bits, a baseball cap, a keyring, a pen but also a present from Adam Frost. Two hybrid plants that he had developed, one was a tomato/potato hybrid, tomatoes on top and potatoes underneath called a Tomato. The other was an Egg and Chip plant, A combination of Aubergine and Potato. Ingenious. I think my Dad will be getting them as a present later.
Once out amongst the gardens it was apparent that it was going to be a beautiful hot, sunny day and that it appeared most of London had decided to visit. The displays and the gardens looked stunning and vibrant under the blue skies and glorious sunshine although I doubt many of the masses took as much interest in the trees around the ground. The avenue of Lime trees, the majestic mature Plane trees and the various ornamental trees around. Although many enjoyed sitting in the shade of their mighty limbs later in the day as temperatures soared.
After several hours (and circuits of the grounds) enjoying the spectacle, the colours, the buzz of the crowds (and the bees that had moved in on the floral feast) I decided a visit to a few of the artisan market stalls for some Chelsea gifts for family before heading home. Armfuls of bags, aching feet, a slight case of sun stroke and sun burn and overwhelming sense of enjoyment marked the end to an incredible experience.
A big thank you to The Arb Association, Jessica Palfreyman, Nobby Clarke, The Arb Academy and KJT Group Ltd for inviting me.