I had the good fortune to shelter from the mad May gales last weekend and attend (for work) the local annual garden show. Whilst it was on at the same time as Chelsea, its not really the same kind of affair. Mair wellies covered in cloots and overalls than your average garden show punter doon sooth I'll bet.
Whilst there's no judging, or display gardens, or giant vegetables, there's a good few plant stalls right enough (I think perhaps a conservative estimate would be SIX). We don't like to over populate the place with horticulturalists either, they'd just end up collectively gathering in a potting shed forming protests about the weather. And, aside the protesting horti's we like to keep our plant choices most sensible here, so you'll not see many tropical gardens or tender perennials up for sale looking lush and lavish. Folks here are just too honest and the faces are too well kent (known) to be selling plants that just won't grow here. So when asked 'will that grow here?' the seller will be nothing but honest, you probably bide (live) near several of his rellies and his granny. No one really wins if you're sold the wrong plant for the climate. specialising in mainly perennial hardy shrubs and flowers, aplines (mostly primula's), hardy veg, herbs and flownsy, blousy annuals (for the more sheltered spot).
So aside a wee puckle of sensible plants, there's not much comparison with Chelsea. However, if you can see by the plants, there is a real treat. MOWERS. Lovely shiny, fab looking, just want one or I'd die, mowers.
Plenty of the chat in Orkney tends to involve mowers/grass and well, mowing. So there are always plenty of shiny things for sale at these shows up here, not exactly Chelsea but hey you cut your cloth to suit your self. Grass GROWS well here, so mowers are this (and last and the season before's) must have item. In a place where the grass never really stops growing, a good mower is worth its weight in silage.
However I did not buy one.
I was good.
I hope you're proud of me.
I stepped away from the mowers.
I did this rather sensible act for a couple of reasons. Firstly I HAVE a mower (the type is RED, I'm a girl after all) and a rather fabulous trailer (nestled in the garage for the new house), which I swapped for a months grass cutting, with a piano (which I don't use for grass cutting, the cellist also refuses to play whilst I mow). Secondly I currently have no grass in my tiny cottage with a divan sized front garden, which means one is a luxury I can't really explain, two is a bit, well, 'collectorish'. Its not exactly a fetish my mower addiction, but I'll leave it at the one big sit on one, hiding in the shed for the moment. People would talk.
Now aside all the mowers, delicious food from the 'Mart Cafe' and plants (which will survive here) I was actually working. We had a composting display and managed to sneak in a few things about recycling too. Like plant labels. Now we can't recycle plastic tubs where I live, its the 'wrong' type of plastic. However, a lovely lady showed me a fabulous way to make labels from old tubs.
Now, I know this isn't the kind of thing you're likely to see at Chelsea either, but hey if it saves you money, reduces plastic into landfill, why not make your own labels too?
You don't actually have to take them to Chelsea either, I don't think they'd really fit in.
Although on seeing the bothy garden created with Shetland stone at Chelsea link here (photograph no 7, thanks GP), there might be a few snuck in there from the old crofters, who never threw anything out. Canny lot those crofters.