Don't let the excitement of a ticket for the Chelsea Flower Show let you forget the essentials - those little, simple, obvious bits and pieces that will help to make your day at Chelsea run as smoothly as possible.
The Gardens Illustrated team got together to create a list of items we think are Chelsea Flower Show visiting essentials, which will mean you can focus on the gardens and plants all day.
These are definitely top of the list. It's a big show ground with lots to see, and whether you have a half or full day ticket you will want to make the most of your time at the show, and this means lots of walking. Sturdy, sensible, waterproof shoes are a must.
A decent sized bag
Again, think functionality and comfort here. While you’re walking around the show, you will be bombarded with leaflets and tempted by the various stalls selling lovely garden items. Although the cloth bags that are handed out are lovely to look at and convenient to use, when filled, they can become pretty uncomfortable for the shoulders. We suggest a decent sized rucksack so your hands can be free for taking photos. Which brings us to the next item…
Whether it’s your first time, last time or hundredth time, the Chelsea Flower Show is a delight for the eyes. A camera allows you to capture your best moments at the show and to also keep a picture diary of all your favourite plants. Don't forget to take a picture of the accompanying plant label to help you keep track of all those plant names.
Whatever the weather, a good-sized bottle of water is a must. Keep hydrated and you'll avoid getting a headache.
There are plenty of places to eat on site but the queues can be lengthy at peak times. It’s a good idea to keep a few nibbles in your bag so you can keep your energy levels up throughout the day.
When the wind picks up, it can tickle even the hardiest of noses and eyes, so it’s a good idea to have a packet of tissues near by for if and when any sneezing starts.
Usually – at a May show – the plane trees on Eastern Avenue provide clouds of pollen that can famously become a bit of an irritant giving rise to the undesirable 'Chelsea cough'. This year however we expect clouds of seed case fluff to do likewise so best continue to pack those boiled sweets just in case…
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Notepad and pen
The Chelsea Flower Show is a pretty inspiring event. Make sure you have a notepad and pen to hand so you can write down any planting ideas or thoughts for garden designs.
And do head to the Gardens Illustrated stand on Eastern Avenue and chat to us about our findings and – dare we suggest – take a look at our Chelsea-exclusive subscription offer?
If it’s hot
Hat, Sunglasses, sun cream.
If it’s wet
Light waterproof and a folding umbrella.
These items are fairly weather dependent, but with our track record of British weather, we'd recommend packing them all. Apart from the Great Pavilion, there aren’t many options for sheltering from bad weather, however if the sun is shining, there are plenty of trees to offer shade for hot heads. Check the weather forecast before you go and pack accordingly.