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Why the Chelsea Flower Show Could Be Renamed the Chelsea Paint Drying Show

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The Chelsea Flower Show was a time for the ritual genuflecting before the horticultural world.

Just as a mind game imagine, instead of gardens at Chelsea, they're going on about sitting rooms. A whole week of programmes about beautiful, dazzling, innovative sitting rooms. The most sumptuous sitting rooms that the most talented designers in the world can come up with. Not too bad an idea? But then instead of talking about the things you or I would be interested in: the new gadgets, sound systems, the most comfortable sofas, the greatest lights... they go on and on about the dusting, the hovering, how easy it is to keep clean. The Chelsea paint drying show.

Gardening is basically outdoor housework, it is the least interesting thing in the garden and yet the media folk fetishise it like it's a mixture of the Queen Mother and raw vegetables. Not only do they revere it beyond reason, they insist it's good for you and you positively should enjoy it.

But how many people like housework? I mean really? A very few people will love it; some people may call it therapeutic. I call these people strange. There is nothing worthy about housework. Inside or out it's boring, tedious, monotonous. The direct opposite of fun.

And gardens should be fun, gardens can be fun, gardens are fun. Yet as long as the media keep conflating gardens and gardening they will never touch the really good stuff. Gardens don't have to be all about gardening; just as interiors don't have to be all about dusting.

So what are gardens about if not gardening? I'll tell you. Gardens in essence are all about the seating, the laying, the lounging. When you look at a gorgeous garden you don't go, "Ooooh I'd like to spend twenty hours a week deadheading in there". No, you go - "I'd like to sit there with a large G and T and fall asleep in the sun". Pretty much the direct opposite of what the media want you to think and try to make you interested in. Gardens to most people are about doing nothing, certainly not gardening.