If you’ve been out and about in Chelsea during the last week, you probably encountered an abundance of floral animals! Chelsea in Bloom is an annual flower festival, in association with the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, that sees local retailers compete with each other for the best display. Now in it’s 12th year, Chelsea in Bloom is free to attend so if you missed it, mark your calendars for next year, and catch up on some of the best displays below.
This year’s theme was a Floral Safari and shops worked with top florists to bring their visions to life.
We took a sunrise stroll around this year’s entries so that we could have them all to ourselves!
Come and take a walk on the wild side…
This was my favourite exhibit! Styled by Maggie Coker and Phillip Corps, the “Gemstone Safari” was Highly Commended.
Rob Van Helden and his team won Silver for their leaping Lion.
Rag & Bone
Harper & Tom’s insta-famous giraffes were Highly Commended by the judges.Jimmy ChooFlowerbx created this fancy frame of exotic palm leaves and pink orchids, landing a Bronze for Jimmy Choo.
Technicolour dream zebras posing up a storm on Sloane Street
Brunello CucinelliBoutique 1Oliver Peoples
Florist, Wild About, won a Silver award with the iconic silhouette on any African safari – the Baobab tree.
Cosmetics à la carte
Truly the door to narnia, on the other side of this magical portal, shoppers are transported into a luxurious safari tent surrounded by floral installations referencing iconic safari imagery of yesteryear. The gorgeous display won Alexia Booker, from the blog Lost Found Keep, a Silver award.
This display is so hot right now. Lynfa Jenkin at Little Lake Flower bagged a Silver for her landscape of floral micro-environments throughout the store, from this campfire to the luxury safari lodge inside.
Moyses Stevens had an insta-ready set up and this adorable little lion!
This fruit & vegetable specialist created a floral installation reminiscent of English grasslands.
Drawing inspiration from the environment British asparagus grows in, the installation – designed by London florist Linda Cottee, featured asparagus spears, flowering asparagus, and edible borage flowers.
While I don’t think this is part of Sloane Street’s display, isn’t it pretty!
Smython’s larger than life window display transported visitors to the African Savannah, taking inspiration from Giraffe Manor in Kenya. They worked with florist Amanda Willgrave to tell a story inspired by the golden age of travel, with a nod to Smython’s travel heritage, which was Highly Commended by judges.High Mood Food
A match made in heaven – High Mood Food worked with Longworthy Flowers’ Elizabeth Cameron on an organic, ethical and locally sourced display which landed them a Silver award. Both believe in “Grown not flown, locally produced, natural not forced and supporting local business”. The design incorporated hot colours from the South African bush, feathers and ostrich eggs. Some of the flowers were bought from Hardy’s Cottage Plants, near Hampshire, who themselves are exhibiting at Chelsea.
JamJar Flowers and Brora won a Silver award.
The White Company
Working with florist Philippa Craddock, The White Company created the Safari slumber spot of dreams – a cosy base in the bush surrounded by grasses and wild hedgerows. Given that I had stayed up all night before this sunset stroll, this display reallllly appalled to me! It clearly appealed to the judges too as they awarded it Gold.
Pavilion Road Rhino
Sloane Square Safari Lodge
This tropical oasis was home to some pretty amazing floral sculptures, such as the life sized elephant.A vegan crocodile made entirely from leaves, petals and succulents!Given that it was 5am and no-one was around, I did wonder if I could someone how get this hotricultural hippo home… Isn’t she gorgeous!
Dubarry partnered with wildlife artist Hamish Mackie, to install this handsome bronze leopard outside their Duke of York square shop. The leopard is climbing through a frame of African sunset inspired flowers, (by Rose Hamson) and out of the grasses of the savannah. They received a Silver award.
Hamptons worked with Shane Connolly Flowers to create a Bronze award winning Panamanian rainforest. They said that they wanted to “avoid the more predictable aspects of a Safari theme, with African Animals, sand and dried grasses.” The Panamanian Rainforest is known for its butterflies and toads, which are reflected in the design.
This year’s winner for Best Floral Display! Hackett worked with Wildabout Flowers to create an eye catching tropical facade full of birds of paradise, lush greenery, and 3D animals made from hundreds of flowers.
Caffe ConcertoThe Sloane Square HotelClub Monaco
Club Monaco worked with Bloom & Wild to take the People’s Champion Award. Besides this stunning entrance, they transported visitors deep into the Borneo jungle with monkeys, reptiles and birds seen through a lush landscape of palms, overgrown moss and ivy.
Tom Davies Opticians
Tom Davies’ worked with Hayford & Rhodes to create this exquisite floral sunset over the plains of the Savannah. I’m not surprised they won the Innovation Award – looking at this makes me so happy!
Emma Hope delivered a powerful message through her display, going back to the true meaning of Safari. In Swahili, the word safari means journey or expedition which, for African children, is most likely their journey to school. This is referenced in the cribs of flowers outside the shop, and the children’s toys, schoolbooks and uniform hanging inside. There is also a road sign to Msambweni showing the distance children will have to walk to school, usually barefoot. Lucky children are sponsored by Etatu, a charity which sends girls to school and buys their books and uniform in Msambweni. Young girls who do not get sponsored see their career options dry up at 10 years old and more often than not, become child brides.
Enjoying the morning light and empty streets, we wandered into Belgravia which is also taking part with Belgravia in Bloom!
Nikki Tibbles – Wild at HeartDavid LinleySoane
It really was a magical morning – empty streets and other worldly displays. I can’t wait for Chelsea in Bloom next year!