Chelsea couturier to British royalty, Catherine Walker & Co held its fourth annual FlowerWalk today as a tribute to the RHS Royal Chelsea Flower Show.
With its stunning show, feature and artisan gardens the RHS Chelsea Flower Show is one of the most important events on the social calendar in London. However, it’s not the only thing that sent Londoners, as well as visitors from all over the world, into a fluster over florals. Cadogan Chelsea in Bloom, London’s largest free flower festival, which is running from May 20-25, has also been offering an array of spectacularly colourful floral creations, from installations and arches to sculptures and flower walls.
This year, the famous west London neighbourhood mostly known for upmarket shopping and dining is looking as beautiful as ever. Over 90 shops, restaurants and hotels up and down the area participated in the competition organised by Cadogan, in association with the Royal Horticultural Society. Places on Sloane Street, Pavilion Road, Duke of York Square, and for the first time ever, King’s Road, transformed their windows and shop fronts into beautiful, eye-catching displays in a bid to win the coveted awards, including Best Floral Display.
This year’s theme, ‘Under the Sea,’ which highlights the beauty that lies under the oceans, the misuse of plastic and the need to conserve and protect our oceans, saw participants unleashing their creativity with plants and flowers to interpret it in their own way. Contestants were judged on their skill and imagination, as well as sustainability credentials, so most of them used recyclable material.
The expert panel awarded The Best Floral Display to Hackett on Sloane Street for their breathtaking, inventive and immersive arrangement of sprawling octopus tentacles, yellow submarine, deep-sea divers and all kinds of deep-sea creatures and plants inspired by Jules Verne Vernes' Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.
Kiki McDonough's giant octopus won Highly Commended, while Smythson got the same honour for its creative version of Ernst Heinrich Philipp's botanical studies. Meanwhile, Marshall Wace won the Innovation Award for its astute and moving display of fresh flowers and salvaged rubbish to highlight the damage caused by single-use plastic.
Plus, 32 boutiques were awarded gold, including a dental practice on Walpole Street, which erected a friendly shark, and Sarah Chapman, who decorated her clinic with jellyfish and an attractive mermaid. Other stellar sea creatures like sea horses, starfish and a killer whale have been spotted during the aquatic celebration.
In Sloane Square, the information point where visitors can book a free rickshaw ride or walking tour of the area’s highlights, there's a pop-up bar area and central floral installation. Created by florists All For Love London, it features a show-stopping coral reef complete with giant dolphin made from mixed foliage, as well as an octopus with tentacles of celosia heads and pincushion proteas.
Another huge floral installation stands on Pavilion Road. The giant 4m-high orca whale was created out of tropical leaves and a base of mixed shades of delphiniums, hydrangeas and gypsophila. Additionally, florists Maison de Fleurs created a massive turtle made up of a mixture of plants, succulents, moss and bold coloured flowers.
For the first time, Cadogan worked in tandem with charity partner Plastic Oceans UK, which aims to end plastic pollution, and a charity point and interactive installation was set up on Sloane Square for funds and awareness. And if you’re wondering what's going to happen to all those gorgeous blooms and plants, they will go to charity Floral Angels to be re-used and re-housed.