I’ve never been to the Chelsea Flower Show but have always wanted to see experience it all up close. So when I was invited to visit and see the Viking Cruises Wellness Garden I was thrilled to be able to go. Where else are you going to find a snapshot of Yorkshire and South Africa literally metres apart.
As a keen, if not always the most successful gardener, I was really excited to see this year’s stunning entries. It is one thing to see them on TV, but seeing them in person really brings the personality of the gardens to life. You can see the sheer attention to detail in developing the various gardens and stands – it really is a celebration of the outdoors.
The Viking Artisan Wellness Garden was created by Paul Hervey-Brookes, and embodies the Scandinavian love for the outdoors and the want to connect with nature. This really resonates with me and you can see how the garden is literally built around this guiding principle. I can appreciate why it won a gold award at this year’s show.
Paul took us on a journey through the garden. Starting with the cute Norwegian pine sauna, spend time purifying your mind and spirit before fully embracing the Nordic Bathing Ritual and jump into the cold plunge pool. Then walk through the garden experiencing the sights and aromas of the various plants before sitting and contemplating the world.
Across the garden, Paul has selected plants that are part of the Scandinavian way of life. “The garden has an important narrative – one of living well, and being in balance with our surroundings. Importantly, it shows the clear and defining link between Viking and the Nordic countries that it draws influence from.” The centrepiece of the garden is a glorious 120 year-old pollarded mulberry tree, which is surrounded by other herbaceous plants such as angelica, woodruff, Nordic strawberries and ferns. Many of the plants are indigenous to Scandinavia and have been chosen for their medicinal or culinary uses. I love that this isn’t just a garden to seeing, but practical as well.
So much of the garden embodies the spirit found on Viking Cruises’ ships. Like the ships, the garden has been designed to bring you closer to nature and experience and connect with it. It’s all about celebrating life, living well and being one with nature. Of all the gardens at the Flower Show I could see myself (modestly) creating and just being in a garden like the Wellness Garden – one day maybe!
The RHS Chelsea Flower show runs until the 26th May and if you have time I thoroughly recommend you visit if possible.
Thank you very much Viking Cruises for the opportunity to experience the show. If you’ve not already heard, Viking is up for 12 awards in this year’s British Cruise Awards. Head on over to the website to cast your vote, and don’t forget there’s a best blogger category as well. If you haven’t already I would be thrilled to have your vote. Go on, you know you want to!
Whilst you’re here, why not also take a look at my recent Viking Adventure in the Caribbean.