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The Chelsea Flower Show 2012

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This year marks the 99th anniversary of the annual Chelsea Flower Show. Run by the Royal Horticultural Society, the Chelsea Flower Show is the equivalent of the Oscars for the gardening world.

Held at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, the show is limited to the 11 acre ground, meaning the space is meticulously mapped out for every area to be utilised. Last year saw the introduction of the new Artisan garden category which focuses on beautiful artistic and natural gardens. 2011 also saw Irish gardener and TV presenter Diarmuid Gavin win gold with the “Irish Sky Garden” – the first garden to ever to be suspended midair at the Chelsea Flower Show. Funnily enough, one of Gavin’s first ever designs for the Chelsea Flower Show was a hanging garden which was rejected!

The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading garden charity and also runs a variety of events all year round nationwide. Upcoming shows include BBC Gardeners World Live in June at the NEC in Birmingham, the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, the RHS Flower Show Tatton Park in July and the Malvern Autumm Show in September if you haven’t been lucky enough to get Chelsea tickets and you’ve been watching on the BBC in previous years.

Gardening is one of the great British pastimes, and regardless of whether you have a sprawling few acres or have space for a window box – indulging your green thumb is a great hobby and way to relax. If you’re not sure where to start, lavender is a hardy evergreen flower that’s easy to grow at the edge of a bed, herb garden or pot and produces a wonderful scent as well as having a multitude of uses.

The perfect time to plant lavender is between April and May, and the Royal Horticultural Society has great guides to planting and looking after your lavender plant. You won’t need much to start in terms of equipment, a mini shovel and a pot will suffice and compost and seeds are readily found at your local garden centre or farmers market. Handily enough, lavender when established is quite drought-tolerant, which is perfect for the upcoming summer and as it’s so easy to grow, it’s great for children too.

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