28 May 1999

CHELSEA SURPRISES

FOR the average gardener, Chelsea Flower Show is a source of inspiration but it also makes us ordinary mortals humbly aware of our limitations when we observe the feasts of colour and design that the professionals produce.

But rather like haute-couture fashion, some designer gardens are more for admiring than relaxing in.

I would bet my last packet of seeds that the costly elegance of many of the exhibits would not top the wish list of ordinary planters and weeders. However, for those who enjoy the surprises that each season can spring, and want to reap a little of what they sow by way of cut flowers and fresh veg, Mr McGregors Garden fills the bill. Designed by Jacquie Gordon for Pet Plan, it is based on the illustrations in the Beatrix Potter stories and is a very pretty garden burgeoning with soft fruits, vegetables and old-fashioned flowers. It is an absolute delight and just the place to recount a few of tales of Peter Rabbit while you interest another generation in the delights of gardening.