Sasha Wilkins in judging mode outside Rag & Bone last year on Sloane Square.
I’m just getting ready to head out to Sloane Square this morning to start my sixth year of judging Chelsea in Bloom. The world class alternative floral art show is now in its 13th Anniversary; produced by Cadogan in association with the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), it transforms the streets of Chelsea from the 21 to 26 May with breath-taking floral displays.
Six years of judging! I cannot believe it’s gone so quickly. I’ve continued to say yes each year because it is such a privilege to be involved in such an extraordinary celebration of floral talent. And, each year, the installations grow more ambitious and the number of entrants grow dramatically with Chelsea’s best retailers, restaurants and hotels competing for the awards.
From twenty or so around Sloane Square and Duke of York’s Square when I first started judging to now over sixty entrants from the very borders of the Cadogan Estate up towards Harrods to quite far down the King’s Road.
This year’s theme is ‘Summer of Love’, inspired by the Royal Wedding and the 60’s/70’s cultural revolution – from the Palace to the King’s Road. The competition showcases floral displays reflecting the participating retailers’ interpretation of the theme in their own unique style. Last year’s ‘Best Floral Display’ winner, Hackett, set the benchmark high along with award winners Kiki McDonough, Rag & Bone and Smythson who were all ‘Highly Commended’, Tom Davies received the ‘Innovation’ award and Club Monaco won ‘People’s Champion’.
Don’t forget that there is again a People’s Champion Award which will be chosen by open voting via the Chelsea in Bloom website – voting will go live today, the Tuesday 22 May, so be primed and ready. Voting will close at midnight on Thursday 24 and the winner announced on Friday 25 May.
I thought I’d run these pictures of last year’s entries to give you a taster of how wonderful the displays will be this year.