Chelsea - the final flowers arrive
The Queen at the Chelsea Flower Show

Lunching and judging at Chelsea

Dahlia display from Winchester Growers. Image © The Chelsea Flower Show judges get invited to a nice lunch before setting forth to assess the exhibits and only once, as far as I remember in about fifteen years, has the lunch (how shall we say?) impaired a judges wisdom. And that was many years ago… and certainly not this time.

The guest speaker was Professor Steven Jones, the celebrated geneticist and Darwin scholar. He assured as that the whole Show was a celebration of Darwinism and expressed his amazement that anyone could deny the validity of Darwin’s work.

He also explained that one, less celebrated, strand in Darwin’s work, was his survey of the “pulchritude” of the women in various British cities. Apparently he set out with brass meter on which he rated the women in a number of towns across Britain. He found that the least pulchritudinous were to be found in Aberdeen in Scotland while those that came out top in his survey were in – Chelsea.

Herb display from Jekka's Herb Farm. Image © Be that as it may… We set out into the Grand Pavilion… we soberly assessed the exhibits – and the results will be announced in the morning. We found some superb Gold Medal quality exhibits and one or two who will be receiving advice on how to do better next time.

We are severely instructed to betray no hint of our opinions in advance of the results so let me mention two exhibits that we did not judge which especially impressed me: from Winchester Growers there were dahlias from the National Collection, and from Jekka’s Herb Farm there were flowering and foliage herbs. Spectacular.


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Well, Glad that the lunching and judging at Chelsea was done successfully. It is a great event. Sad to say I am not there to watch it personally.


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