RHS Chelsea ends tomorrow, but you can still catch Chelsea in Bloom
|The White Company Window, complete with floral wedding dress|
If you're still feeling gloomy about all the happy horticultural punters who succeeded in getting into the Chelsea Flower Show this year, when you stayed home because you had no ticket to the ball, there are still numerous Fringe events on offer around London. One in particular will appeal to those in need of retail therapy this weekend - because 28 well-known shops in and around Sloane Square are offering window shopping treats to anybody who wants to pound the streets in SW3.
|Hackett has rose-jacketed sentries|
All are participating in Chelsea in Bloom - an annual event that coincides with RHS Chelsea - where local retailers compete for a coveted crown by producing wonderful floral window displays to complement the flower show. This year's theme is the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, so you'll see plenty of regal displays and more than a few crowns as you mingle with the punters making their way to or from the Royal Hospital grounds, sporting their goody bags from the Show.
This is the seventh year that retailers have participated in this floral festival, and the event has now become so well established that the RHS judging team give their time and energy to choosing a winner and runner up, based on the floral displays.
Many of the big names are there and you can expect to see a spectacular floral wedding dress at the The White Company (above), two rose-jacketed sentries standing to attention outside Hackett (left) and a giant corgi outside Ted Baker, plus crowns and sceptres everywhere. Peter Jones has a huge floral stamp with the Queen's head in its window; Tiffany's has flowers spilling into the streets, and Smythson's has adopted a delicate pink rose theme (below). It's certainly good fun and well worth a look.
If the heat's too much for you (and they are forecasting record temperatures again tomorrow), you can take a bicycle rickshaw and catch all the windows. Or else join one of the walking tours, which run from the information point in Sloane Square every half hour. Certainly a great opportunity to window show in every sense of the word ... and no obligation to buy!
|Smythson window with floral bunting|