Letter: Grand spectacle of a flower show

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Sir: With regard to Michael Leapman's criticisms of the Chelsea Flower Show ('Dear Sir Simon Hornby', 25 May), Chelsea is a spectacle, a day out; for many it is the day out of the year and it should be fun as well as a show of exceptional quality. In the past the Royal Horticultural Society has sometimes been criticised as being 'stuffy' and 'staid', but now it seems the green wellie is on the other foot.

For many exhibitors the cost of showing at Chelsea is very high and so sponsors may be brought in to help with the heavy expense. So what on earth is wrong with a little publicity drummed up by our exhibitors? It adds to the festive atmosphere, and draws both the exhibitors and the Society to the attention of the public. And nowadays our members and other visitors are just as likely to watch Sky One as BBC 2.

Michael Leapman writes about rows concocted for the media, but he is streetwise enough to know that there is never any need for us to do that - the media do it themselves.

I really do believe that this is the 'best Chelsea ever'. With nine spectacular Gold medal winning show gardens and 65 Gold medal awards in the floral marquee, the quality of the plants and their display is quite outstanding. Chelsea Flower Show a little naff - come off it]

This is my first year as President of the Royal Horticultural Society. I have had fun and I have seen crowds of people having fun, too, but above all I have seen standards of horticulture which are unsurpassed.

Yours from the glory of the




Royal Horticultural Society

London, SW1

26 May