The Royal Chelsea Flower Show is next month. At the end of the week, they sell off some of the flowers. This has to be the funniest article I’ve ever read about gardening…particularly the part about Lazarus Ladies…older women who show up in wheelchairs but are suddenly healed during the sale!

As thousands prepare to descend on Chelsea’s annual plant sale tomorrow, seasoned buyer Damian Barr offers tactics for landing a prize-winning bloom.

Royal Chelsea Flower Show (photo courtesy of the Telegraph).

Royal Chelsea Flower Show (photo courtesy of The Telegraph).

We British are said to be brave and honourable in battle, holding doors open for the enemy, pouring tea and smiling politely all the way from the breach at Agincourt to the beaches of Normandy.

But there is one ignoble exception to this rule. It is brutally re-enacted each year on the final day of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, when exhibitors start to sell off their plants in a fiercely fought War for the Roses.

On Saturday, it’s you against 25,000 plant-hungry veterans. At 3pm, a crowd with the feverish excitement of the guillotine gathers by the main pavilion. Ladies of a certain age giggle as the master of ceremonies, Alan Titchmarsh, appears.

Mass horticultural hysteria descends as the countdown begins. At exactly 4pm, Titchmarsh, carefully straddling the fine line between sex symbol and national treasure, rings the bell. Suddenly, it’s every gardener for himself. Crazed crowds don’t usually disperse so fast without tear gas.

“It’s pretty terrifying,” says Bryony Hill, wife of sports commentator Jimmy and author of A Compost Kind of Girl. “I’ve been to about 25 shows and am always amazed as seemingly sane people, mostly women, go mad fighting over a few plants.”

But these are not just any plants. Society’s green and good, including the Queen, have drifted through gardens designed by the likes of Diarmuid Gavin and Rachel de Thame, so you could end up with a medal-winning geranium that’s been sniffed by royalty. These are plants worth fighting for – so how can you emerge victorious?

Read the rest of the article here

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