Things to do in London

Chelsea Flower Show preview: Diarmuid Gavin’s ‘magical garden’, topiary F1 car and more

17:03 18 May 2012

Diarmuid Gavins Irish Sky Garden at Chelsea Flower Show in 2011

Diarmuid Gavins Irish Sky Garden at Chelsea Flower Show in 2011


Does your garden badly need a horticultural makeover? Perhaps burying years of neglect under acres of decking is no longer enough. If this is you, the annual Chelsea Flower Show at the Royal Hospital Chelsea is the place to go.

The show is a Mecca for those searching for a slice of earthly paradise just beyond the back door step, with row upon row of avant-garde gardening on show - even the Queen enjoys a visit to Chelsea.

Garden in the sky

Last year, a garden suspended in the air wowed visitors.

TV horticulturalist Diarmuid Gavins Irish Sky Garden separated flora from its usual place rooted in earth by dangling a cabin above the ground from a cable.

"Fun, trickery, shock, awe, amazement and entertainment are all ancient features of gardens," he said of his eye-catching creation.

This year Gavin has created a pyramid-like creation called the 'Westland Magical Garden', a multi-storey structrue promising "formal, elegant planting including ferns, hostas and clipped Buxus sempervirens in terracotta urn."

Down to Earth

Vision is one element not in short supply at the Royal Horticultural Society event. For instance, a topiary Formula 1 car will be on display this year.

But turning a dishevelled patch of scrub into something like the Hanging Gardens of Babylon needs more time than many people have to give.

So is the Chelsea Flower Show only about the highly impractical and implausible?

Not entirely, as high street hardware giant Homebase is sponsoring a garden designed for city living.

Expert advice on dealing with common garden pests will also be available.

Getting there

Chelsea Flower Show runs from May 22 to 26.

Sloane Square Tube station is a 10-minute walk away.

See for more information on visiting.

LONDON IN AN APP! Whether you're planning to visit the Chelsea Flower Show or anywhere else in London, the fantastic FREE MyCityWayLondon24 app for iPhone can help you during a day out.

The app contains more than 30 really useful mini-apps which can help with everything from finding somewhere to grab a coffee or lunch to checking the latest travel information and locating free places to visit.

The app is the ultimate mobile city guide, the essential tool to have in your pocket whenever you're out and about in London.

For more information and to download MyCityWayLondon24, search the Apple iTunes App Store for 'London24' or go to

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