Judging Chelsea in Bloom for a second year was an absolute joy.  Along with my fellow judges Stephen Woodhams, who was fresh from judging the show gardens at Chelsea the day before, and Sorrel Everton, deputy editor of Gardens Illustrated, the day was spent covering the entrants from Sloane Street to Sloane Square, Duke of York’s Square to the King’s Road, and down to Symons Street.

Above: Clipboards at the ready, underneath Rag & Bone’s beautiful floral arch. I knew from last year that heels would be a disaster – so it was a neon Nike day.

Do check the displays out in person ( I wasn’t able to photograph them all), as Saturday is the last day they will be up.

tiffany Chelsea in Bloom 2014

Tuesday wasn’t as bright and sunny as Monday, but that was to the good: no walking around in blazing sunshine and, after last year where I was in danger of frostbitten knees, we were just glad to be warm.

2014-05-20 12.13.19

We were judging in accordance with RHS guidelines. Each display was judged in three different categories, gaining 0-4 points in each, to a maximum of 12 points each. This makes for a very equal competition, because scale and expense don’t affect criteria, such as suitability, flower choice or container usage. We disqualified anyone who wasn’t ready, or who used wholly fake flowers.

2014-05-20 11.03.48

I was quite taken by the Jumeriah Carlton Tower Hotel’s flamingo (the first pink bird of the day), the floral arches inside, and the bird tweets, that were set off by a motion sensor.

Chelsea in Bloom 2014

We had two rickshaws to transport us around all day.

pickett Chelsea in Bloom 2014

Pickett have quite tricky windows to decorate, but we thought this was a clever way around them.

pickett Chelsea in Bloom 2014


Bruno Cuccinelli, who came joint second last year, had another perfectly executed window.

bruno cuccinelli Chelsea in Bloom 2014

bruno cuccinelli Chelsea in Bloom 2014


Hackett were real contenders with a beautiful set of windows, and wonderful displays indoors.

hackett Chelsea in Bloom 2014

hackett Chelsea in Bloom 2014

We moved on to Tiffany & Co, whose clever numerals reference the famous Tiffany Atlas clock at the Fifth Avenue store, and the new Atlas collection. (At top too.) Here’s Stephen and Sorrel getting up close and personal with the lime green carnations.

tiffany Chelsea in Bloom 2014

Then we crossed the road to last year’s winners, Rag & Bone.

rag and bone Chelsea in Bloom 2014

rag and bone Chelsea in Bloom 2014

We particularly loved the floral UK and US flags in the windows.

rag and bone Chelsea in Bloom 2014

Hamptons’ display was super cheery and extremely popular with passersby.

hamptons Chelsea in Bloom 2014

Hugo Boss has commissioned set designer Gary Card to create these giant foliage men, which were executed by Grace & Thorn.

hugo boss Chelsea in Bloom 2014

We loved that this lady was conceptualised by the store staff at belt store Elliot Rhodes, and that they used belt offcuts to to make her bodice.

elliot rhodes Chelsea in Bloom 2014

Liz Earle pulled a blinder with their homage to the Isle of Wight.

Liz earle Chelsea in Bloom 2014

Dubarry had one of our favourite planting schemes.

dubarry Chelsea in Bloom 2014

LK Bennett had a phenomenal installation, conceived in-house, and executed by the VM’s mother, who just happened to be a florist.

lk bennett Chelsea in Bloom 2014

I loved Jigsaw’s clever use of knapsacks and handbags as containers.

jigsaw Chelsea in Bloom 2014

jigsaw Chelsea in Bloom 2014 jigsaw Chelsea in Bloom 2014

Chelsea in Bloom 2014

Cos’ simple display of cacti and succulents by The Garden Edit was extremely effective

Cos chelsea in Bloom 2014

Pandora had more tweeting motion sensors/

pandora Chelsea in Bloom 2014

Chelsea in Bloom 2014

We thought Whistles’ flamingo was perfectly executed.

whistles Chelsea in Bloom 2014 whistles Chelsea in Bloom 2014

There were ravishing peonies at Links of London, arranged into a bow.

links Chelsea in Bloom 2014

Kate Spade took us on a trip to Rio, designed in house, and executed by Nikki Tibbles and her team at Wild at Heart.

Kate Spade Chelsea in Bloom 2014

Brora paid homage to their textile heritage.

brora Chelsea in Bloom 2014

Basia Zarzycka’s display mirrored her eclectic interior.

basia zarzycka Chelsea in Bloom 2014

basia zarzycka Chelsea in Bloom 2014

A lovely floral lady with an ivy pompadour by florists Moyse Stevens.

moyses stevens Chelsea in Bloom 2014

Peter Jones also had a wonderful floral lady, to match a vintage John Lewis textile, and Mary Quant replicated some of their cosmetics in carnations.

We finished up at 11 Cadogan Gardens for a delicious lunch, adding up of the points, and some vigorous discussion amongst the judges.

11 Cadogan Gardens lunch

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Chelsea in Bloom is a dream. That tube of exploding ‘flower’ paint at LK Bennett! Thanks for the lovely post.


I think my favourite has to be Kate Spades one, that just blew the others out if the water for me, although I really liked Pandoras too but that was more of a I’d like that as part of my wedding decoration inspiration! What fun though to be the judge!


So beautiful and so much effort! Would make me feel so guilty if I had to pick just one… x


I love the Liz Earle display – so wonderful, and the Pandora display is so pretty! Looks like a great day

Beccy // Bluebell & Bumpkin


What a glorious celebration of flowers and imagination! Great pictures and I love your neon Nikes. I do hope your toe is feeling a bit better today too – my husband broke his little toe a few years ago and he couldn’t believe the agony of such a tiny break.


I do not know how you choose from all these amazing entries! How fabulous!
My itch to visit London grows each day with visiting your blog!! Thanx !!


How does one pick — all are fantastic !!

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