The Great Spring Show

It’s reassuring that ‘midst the turmoil of modern life and sure as spring turns to summer, this extraordinary occasion is always an unqualified delight and has been for over a century.

Many of us are grateful if we can keep a cactus from wilting, and we are inclined to wonder at a single lily. As John Stewart Collis pointed out, perfection seems to us a rare thing, but every foxglove is a perfect a specimen of what a foxglove ought to be, but seeing all this natural perfection allied to the skill and imagination on display in central London is nothing short of fragrantly breathtaking. It seems almost counterintuitive that a domesticated landscape designed to inspire nothing but calm and unfocused wonder should demand so much soily toil.

It seems similarly counterintuitive but also very much in keeping with the best traditions of our national character that we should put a sharp competitive edge on such a pursuit as mucking about in the garden or breeding roses and then lauding the winners no more than we congratulate the runners up.

Tomorrow, Saturday, is the last day of the 2017 RHS Chelsea Flower Show, and quite a show it has been. If the mood or a rock should strike you, we heartily recommend tottery down there for a final glimpse. Do check the Society’s website before setting off as tickets are in limited supply.

If you do miss out, worry not. Find a patch of grass with a view of the trees – we’ve an embarrassment of such spots in the capital – and lie back, safe in the knowledge that there’ll always be an England, and there’ll always be a Flower Show.