Fashion: On the street - Horticulture vultures
The Chelsea Flower Show boasts plants, flowers, fruit, vegetables and, says Amy Jones, some seriously snazzy dressers
Saturday 12 June 1999
"I must say I find it very difficult to find clothes that fit me, but the two brothers who run the tailors I go to in Uxbridge are very helpful without being forceful. I've been coming to the Chelsea Flower Show since 1961 - and this is where my interest in vegetables first started. I'm also part of the Surrey Guild of Judges and Lecturers. I've come here today as I'm in the great marquee with the National Vegetable Society giving advice. We're encouraging people to grow their own wholesome food. I think this is the best Chelsea yet. I know that people say that every year, but that's OK."
Elizabeth Jacobson, 77, retired advertising executive, from Sheboygan, Wisconsin, US, wears hat, matching trousers and top from shop in Palm Beach, Florida.
"I am on a Huron Valley tour bus which is visiting gardens around the UK. We came over in mid-May and spent seven days in the Cotswolds and now we're here for the Chelsea Flower Show. We got here at 8am. Actually, you've just caught me having a little rest. The tour company has booked us in for seafood and Champagne in the marquee this afternoon then, at 5pm, we'll leave. I have a garden in Sheboygan in Wisconsin but it gets so cold. When summer is over I go to my house in Mexico where I raise orchids, although I am also partial to white lilies. The displays here are far better than anything we have in the States."
Mark Tilley, 32, head of events for Philips auctioneers, from south London, wears hat from Herbert Johnson's, jacket and tie from Blazer, his grandfather's pocket watch and chain, shirt from Thomas Pink and trousers from Austin Reed in Edinburgh.
"This is my seventh visit. I always come with family and friends, we're all keen gardeners. We got here around 9.30am and we've covered most of the outside of the grounds. We had a break for Pimm's and then decided to go off to the Champagne and seafood marquee. The show is not so packed this year and the weather is glorious. I wanted to get some topiary frames for my front garden. I'm also looking for a 60th anniversary present for my parents. I tried to look inconspicuous today, that's why I wore my hat, but it obviously didn't work. Never mind."
Sergeant Len Williams, 80, Flower Show guide, wears Official Chelsea Pensioner uniform, acorn hat signifying sergeant status and medals from Second World War.
"There are 370 Pensioners in residence at the St Anne's Infirmary. The Pensioners were founded by King Charles in 1682. To qualify, a gentleman has to be at least 65 years old, in receipt of an army or disabled pension, have served at least 12 years in the army and have no financial or matrimonial ties. I am responsible for guiding groups of tourists around the hospital and its grounds. When the Flower Show isn't on you have to make an appointment to have a guided tour. There are only four of us official guides. I do like giving tours. I enjoy meeting new people. I tell them my motto is have faith and think positive and you'll not go far wrong".
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