Lulu Guinness

At the first flicker of an Azalea bud the country clan are elbows deep in the vegetable patch and the city pack are tending a solitary herb garden. Both have a uniting Pimm’s in gardening-gloved hand. Who could host the biggest, longest-running, most prestigious flower show in the world but the Brits? Last year 6,400 glasses of our favourite fruity liqueur were consumed, not to mention the healthy 10,000 portions of fish and chips. But it’s not just our merry revelling in spring delights that makes the show synonymous with our heritage. We are a determined, resourceful bunch.


The show went on through WW1 and even after a fierce storm all but destroyed the set-up in 1928, which was heroically put right by staff who slogged through the night to deliver on time. The royals love the Flower Show, and had a particular knees-up the year the Queen was crowned in 1953 – almost all but the Queen (she was unsurprisingly otherwise engaged) turned up.

This year Prince Harry’s charity Sentebale will exhibit for the second time. But where would we be without a bit of eccentricity? Exhibitors have persevered in expertly hiding gnomes in foliage since day one (they were banned until 2013) and until 2000 it was hosted in the largest marquee in the world, before it was turned into 7,000 bags, aprons and jackets. Yes, we’re a mad bunch, but where would flowers be without us?


Image credits: The House That Lars - Chelsea Weird Stuff - Jonathan Moseley