There’s been a delicious sense of anarchy about the Chelsea Flower Show today. I first encountered it in the most unlikely place, the garden sponsored by the Caravan Club, whose sense of daring is normally limited to doing 35mph in a 50 mph zone. I was delighted to see them breaking, for the first time in the 99 years of the show, the rule that animals aren’t allowed in Show Gardens, with the appearance of a simply gorgeous creature called Cawdaw (Cawdy for short) in a kennel cunningly disguised as a miniature caravan. I was introduced to Cawdy just after the judging and there was relief all round that the judges hadn’t spotted her. Jo Thompson, who designed the garden, richly deserves the gold medal and the People’s Award which she is tipped to get.
The other contender for the People’s Award is Diarmud Gavin with his towering 7 storey garden. Diarmud took me up in the lift to the fifth floor, from where you have to tackle a series of ladders to reach the top. His people told me that there had been a lively debate about health and safety before the unhealthy side won. What a marvellous victory. It’s a long time since I’ve enjoyed such a scary afternoon. The best part was the downward journey, where you get the chance to insert yourself into a steel tube which propels you down four storeys in about four and a half seconds. I’d love to read their risk assessment and I take back all those scornful words I wrote about how feeble Chelsea is, when it comes to safety (See link).