17 June 2012 | Posted inBlog News & Updates
Posted by Deborah
I had the opportunity to spend a lovely day in London recently. I went to the Chelsea Flower Show with one of my classmates planning on enjoying a breath of spring and unexpectedly learned about another piece of English history. The flower show has taken place on the grounds of the Royal Chelsea Hospital since 1913. This is the home of the Chelsea Pensioners and was founded by King Charles II as a residence for retired soldiers. It was designed by Christopher Wren and completed in 1692. The location is not far from Victoria Station and covers 66 acres. Until we walked in the gates, I didn’t know anything about the history of the hospital, but the men and women in long red coats stood out amongst the hordes of people and not long after that I saw more of the Pensioners on the Royal Barge for the Queen’s Jubilee Flotilla down the Thames. The Pensioners are primarily men, but women have been accepted since 2009 and I noticed the Queen stopping to speak to one of the women in the group lining the walkway up to the barge. Now that I recognize the red coats and black hats as belonging to the Chelsea Pensioners, I’ve seen them at several events.
The flower show itself was spectacular, but we only saw a small amount as our ticket was for approximately 3 hours in the evening. We bought them about two months before the opening, but the daytime tickets were already sold out. In Toronto the Canada Blooms show is in March and is entirely indoors, so it was a pleasant surprise to see all the gardens set up outside. The 7-storey garden was spectacular, but we stumbled on it so late that we didn’t have a chance to go into it. One of my favourite displays was one where floral designers were invited to create a chandelier that would be used at one the Queen’s Jubilee dinners. There were about 16 chandeliers and they were all gorgeous. I’ve been enjoying not having to do any garden and lawn work in my year away from home, but the visit to the Chelsea Flower Show was inspiring and I’m missing my little garden.