Chelsea Flower Show 2007: 8 (Wednesday) - More Chelsea info and blogs
Chelsea Flower Show 2007: 10 (Thursday) - Women on Top

Chelsea Flower Show 2007: 9 (Wednesday) - Feud at the Flower Show

I haven’t seen the many many hours of Chelsea coverage on BBC TV this year, I’ve either been at the show or subduing my cold with potions that sent me to sleep. But I’m told that the Silver-Gilt Medal winning Westland Garden, designed by Diarmuid Gavin the Dublin-based designer and TV gardener, and named for his sponsor, has not been featured at all. Can anyone confirm or refute that?

At one time Diarmid was part of BBC TV’s presentation team but now seems to be out of favour, fampous as part of an awkward double-act with regular host Alan Titchmarsh in which they failed to pretend to like each other.Cancerresearch500 He’s even been involved in a dispute with fellow Chelsea designer Andy Sturgeon over the supposed plagiarism of one of his designs and and the dispute even ended up in court! He’s also fallen out with Bunny Guinness, one of the BBC radio gardening team. You can read all about it here.

Bill Shankly, the great football (soccer) manager at Liverpool Football Club once said: “Some people believe football is a matter of life and death… I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.” It looks as if Chelsea garden designers are developing the same attitude about their gardens – or perhaps about themselves!

In Britain we have an expression: "Handbags at three paces." It derives from the idea of two women attempting to whack each other in the face by swinging their handbags on outstretched arms. Commentators sometimes use the phrase to deride football (soccer) players shouting at each other and pushing and shoving on the pitch. Sounds like a great term for feuding garden designers.

American readers, by the way, will be astonished at the amount of TV coverage of the Chelsea Flower Show - much of it on BBC1, the top-rated channel in the country. It's as if ABC cancelled Grey's Anatomy and ran flower show coverage instead - and ran the flower show every night of the week. Mind you, Britain is the country where the top rated reality TV show is SpringWatch, which features live coverage of nesting birds and squabbling foxes out in the countryside. Those Brits...

  • BTW I’ve also contributed a Guest Post, with more pictures, to the Garden Rant blog, you can find it here.



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Richard Loader

Graham - enjoyed your rant item very much,
I didn't make it to Chelsea this year so followed the TV coverage and was surprised at how little exposure was given to the Westland garden.
The little I did see was tantalising because it looked to have some good ideas but details were kept from the viewing public.
Something a bit stinky must have been going on - I can't believe CB had significant influence in keeping DG out of the BBC airtime, although this has been suggested in at least one reasonably well informed arena.

Graham Rice

I'm having a party tonight at which I'm hoping to find out more... I'll say no more for now, and hope for some good gossip later!

Update: Well, it seems that a "personality clash" is to blame. That's disgraceful, how petty can you get?! The BBC doesn't have the right to be so small-minded, and neither should the fact that Diarmuid now works for Irish TV come into it. This attitude has no place in Chelsea coverage.


I attended the Chelsea flower show this year for the first time ever, i was a little disapointed with the lack of directions on the route to the showground but we got there eventually, i bought some fantastic sweetpea seeds from mathewmans i can't remember the name but they are a lovely deep blue and i have big plans for them on the showbench i saw a lovely new clematis called cezanne i couldn't buy it at the show from raymond evisson but i have ordered it from their website. It was a marvellous experience though it was extremely busy i wouldn't have missed it for the world we stayed in London for a couple of nights and the journey tired me out i don't know how you do all the travelling Graham it's enough for me for the rest of the year

Graham Rice

Sometimes I don't know how I do all the travelling either, Digger! I must say that I didn't realise the signage to the Show was poor - so many people just follow the hoards out of Sloane Square tube station. The RHS will see your comment and perhaps review the signage situation. And I agree Clematis 'Cezanne' is gorgeous. I'm so glad you had such a great time.

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