Insights • Inspirations • Destinations • Design

Sunday, May 25, 2014

London: Bloomin' Lovely

Some people dismiss SW7. South Kensington, they say, is "a dull enclave of white stucco, pretentious residents and rich Russians driving tasteless cars". (As a London friend of mine put it.) Neighbouring Chelsea, SW3, often fares just as bad, with many nobos (northern bohemian types: usually those who live in 'cool' areas like Notting Hill, Marylebone, Bloomsbury, Primrose Hill, et al) ignoring anything south of Hyde Park. When I confess that I not only love South Ken and Chelsea but choose to live in this area on three different occasions, my London friends give me a withering and/or pitiful look, as if I've just announced that my favourite colour is puce. 

Chelsea and South Ken are quiet, understated and sometimes boring places, which are better known for their museums and quiet, understated, boring shopping strips than their sense of creativity. British eccentricity isn't apparent here, that's for sure. Bloomsbury it's not. But if there's one thing that distinguishes the SW girls apart from the rest of London it's their fondness for flowers. And nothing illustrates this more than than Chelsea Flower Show week.

(NB I am still sorting through photos so will add to this post.)

 For a few short days in May, this quiet pocket of the world becomes a kind of Mecca for gardeners. Streets bloom into a spectacular profusion of colour, petals, scent, starling bouquets and splendid window displays. It's astonishing to watch. One minute the area is bathed in cold, grey May rain. The next it's a glorious portrait of Mother Nature.

So I thought I'd show you a a few snapshots from my old stomping ground this week. Unfortunately, I didn't get many pix from Chelsea itself, as it was thundery and rainy for much of Saturday and not good photographic weather. (And I need to keep the camera pristine and water-free for some important shoots in Paris this week!) Saturday also isn't much fun, as I discovered, as most of the gardens are seemingly disassembled and sold by the time most of the majority of people get there. Overall it wasn't a bad show but I hope—like many I spoke to–that flowers make a comeback in the show gardens soon. I think we're all becoming a little weary of modern minimalism.

Here are a few images from a day in my favourite part of London.

A pop-up florist by Tricia Guild and Juliet Gaves. 
The photo doesn't capture how joyful this stall was. It was so uplifting. 

Purple was a big colour in horticulture this year.

Even the chairs were flower-themed.

These parrot tulips were the size of serving platters.

This was an entire wall of pink petals that covered the front of a King's Road boutique.

Wooden crates are still very' in' in merchandising. Lots of Chelsea stalls had them.

New purchases from Designer's Guild. 
Sadly could only afford offcuts, but still tickled pink by these fabrics. (Sorry, couldn't help the pun.)

New handbag, bought on sale in Singapore this week. I just love vintage-looking canvas bags. This is my third now.

 I heard that Sibella Court was murmuring about designing a range of canvas travel bags. Let's hope she finds the time to do it. 

Kate Spade's garden on Sloane Square.

One window...

An entire wall of the store.

And a few Kate Spade-inspired cocktails hanging in another window.

Favourite new hotel. The Pelham. 
Lovely staff, luscious rooms and utterly sublime interior design.

The Pelham was actually one of Kit Kemp's first projects, when it was under Firmdale's umbrella. But the Kemps sold it to finance their New York hotel, Crosby Street. However, the staff stayed on and the mood and design is just the same. It's very Kit Kemp, and just as charming as Number Sixteen.

Cabbages and Roses' delightful new store on Sydney Street, adjoining The Chelsea Gardener (another gorgeous place).

So pleased Marylyn Abbott won a medal for her Topiarist's Garden, after all the difficulties she and her team experienced when the sponsors pulled out.

House of Fraser Garden.

J Crew's floral display.

Sorry this post is short. I'm in Paris tonight. The fourth country in five days. 

I'll be here for a week for work, and hope to post some of the loveliness of this always-pretty city. Then it's back to England on the weekend for a tour of country gardens, to research some destinations for the future garden tours that two friends want to do. I'll try and post pix of those too.

Hope your weeks have been just as colourful. Jx

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for stopping by. It's always lovely hearing from The Library's readers.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...