So that’s another Chelsea Flower Show gone to seed having inspired many gardeners and intimidated a few too.   It is official, the ‘current’ (as in topical, not the fruit) colour is purple, the ‘mood’ is romantic - and I recognise fewer and fewer celebrities each year.

Despite celebrities not ‘standing out’ for me this year, there were other ‘stand outs’ including the first garden to be designed by children called ‘No Adults Allowed’.  I must be getting grumpier but my first thought was, ‘Let the kids maintain it then …’

 A lot of the show gardens focussed on being prepared for extreme weather conditions, which is, I think, the biggest ‘change’ and challenge in gardening for years.    

Chelsea Flower Show’s ‘Plant of the Year’ is Prunus ‘Starlight’, an ornamental cherry blossom tree with beautiful white star-shaped flowers.  It starts to bloom in March through to late April and is a small tree suitable for most gardens.  Described as ‘a robust and healthy grower’ with good resistance to frost damage, it’s no wonder it won!

Second place this year went to Cosmos atrosanguineus Cherry Chocolate ('Vg001'), with large, cherry-coloured flowers, contrasting yellow pollen and a chocolate scent.   I have always loved the chocolate Cosmos – and never fail to be impressed by the smell – or thrilled by people’s reactions when they first smell it.   But it can be hard to ‘keep’, as it can be a bit precious in certain weather conditions. The ‘new’ chocolate Cosmos is supposed to be far more robust.  It is also loved by pollinators and will bloom non-stop from the end of May to the first frosts.

I actually like the third choice this year too, although it’s a bit more unusual.  The Agave ‘Praying Hands’ is a unique succulent that has an elegant tear-shaped artichoke-look with colourful foliage.  It's hardy to -5C and is extremely sun and drought-tolerant too which makes it a good choice for our ‘menopausal seasons’. 

Last weekend’s Bank Holiday was perfectly timed for those wanting to turn their Chelsea Flower Show inspiration into action and I’m sure all the garden centres were busy – and the staff wished they had a pound for every time they heard ‘Chelsea Flower Show’.  Amid all the enthusiasm it is important to remember is that your garden is ‘unique’.  The soil, the aspect, the gradients, shade, shelter will all vary to someone elses, so whilst you may well be trying to replicate something you have seen at Chelsea Flower Show – or anywhere else – it may not work for you, or at least not quite as well.   Quite often I go into gardens to give design advice and start with, “You tell me what you want and I’ll tell you why you can’t have it.”

Whilst I love Chelsea Flower Show and all it’s ‘hoo ha’, I am also cheerfully accepting of the fact that while Monty and Joe earnestly debate whether purple and orange flowers should be planted together, I am battling to keep a paths cut though the ground elder, the brambles from strangling some of my shrubs and a rabble of rabbits from pilfering my peas. 

And although my brother insists I say it every year, I have never seen such enthusiastic and ‘mental’ growth in the gardens as there is now. It’s like a green, leafy and grassy tsunami.

Ironically, I read this week that a recent study found, ‘Gardeners have a 42 per cent lower likelihood of having multiple sleep complaints, such as short sleep and daytime sleepiness, compared to non-exercisers.’  I think that’s probably because we are all exhausted!