Elena Bowes

New York-London design & culture writer of a certain vintage looking for meaning and wholeness in life

Daffodils at Dawn

May 21st, 2015
Chelsea Flower Show

I haven’t been to the Chelsea Flower Show in eons so decided the time was ripe. And what better way than to go with my friend Lauren who if she isn’t brewing the perfect cuppa is getting over-excited by her flowerbeds. The fellow in the image above is James Alexander-Sinclair, one of the esteemed judges, who led us around at the crack of dawn this morning. He dispensed many interesting tidbits, even to someone like me who knows zilch about mulch.

For example, did you know that the winning gardens always place a tree or two in the front, not just the rear? Me neither. But Mr Alexander-Sinclair says it is so. Note the trees upfront.


And note the debonair gardener  responsible. He’s James Basson – Gold Winner of A Perfumer’s Garden in Grasse by L’Occitane.

chelsea flower show 2

Mr Alexander-Sinclair also told us that gardens often fall flat in the middle. They need to vary heights throughout to maintain interest. They must have rhythm and sing. Who knew? The Bluebell Brothers, The Beech Tree Boys. Don’t worry, stopping now.


Have you noticed how gardens at the show are always rectangular? Just nod. Well, that’s because most London gardens are rectangular. Keep it simple, says my new green guru. He’s a  less is more kind of judge, always thinking what to take out, not what to add. You heard it here.


May, 2015