Sharing in Chelsea's airtime

Well, we've had plasticine plants and artificial turf, so it was probably only a matter of time before someone came up with a design for a show garden at Chelsea featuring a planted pod visitors won't be able to properly see - at least not until they get home and watch the television coverage, that is.

The more traditional among readers will argue that Diarmuid Gavin's garden represents everything that's wrong with Chelsea design trends today - that it's all about playing to the cameras and not enough about trying to inspire the nation's gardeners with ideas, at least some elements of which they can actually attempt to recreate at home. The less traditional will say drama, spectacle and showmanship is what a great show is all about - and, by the way, it gets the attention of the media scrum, which is good news all round, surely? I'll leave you to argue that one out among yourselves.

What is for sure is what show manager Alex Denman tells us this week when asked what Chelsea means for the horticulture trade: "When does horticulture get on the front pages? That's the big deal. It's a main focus point for the industry and that's why people want to be here." No-one can argue with that.

For the rest of the year, national media acts as though the industry doesn't exist, its multitude of environment correspondents more concerned with cycling campaigns and ethical living than the role UK horticulture plays in the creation of the quality green environments that we know are so critical to well-being, sustainable rural employment, healthy nutritious food and so much more.

There's a much, much bigger story that remains to be told. But while Chelsea's on, there is at least an opportunity to grab some of that airtime.

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