David Davidson Enthralls

To hear David Davidson speak is always a pleasure. Not only is he one of the world’s top floral designers, he is also a superb raconteur.

This year saw the 100th Royal Chelsea Flower Show and the 100th anniversary of our own Kirstenbosch Gardens. The stage was set for an extra special South African entry at the Chelsea Show – and David Davidson and his team did not disappoint. Another gold medal was awarded to our stand and, in a talk to WCC on Saturday 28th September, David explained how our entry was developed. However, for the enthralled audience, this came after an overview of the Show as a whole, including a humorous look at some of the Royals that put the Royal in the Show’s name. David discussed more than a dozen designs of show gardens, showing first the formal plan and then the real thing.

Witty and perceptive comment accompanied vivid visuals, with generous recognition of success in some stands and gentle criticism when things had gone a bit awry – as in the Australian entry, where solar panels were supposed to generate the electricity for the water feature in a London where it rained every day and the feature  hardly ever worked!

The South African entry featured a wrap-around image of the mountains at Kirstenbosch and a re-creation of the best-known parts of the Gardens. The stand was designed to ensure that visitors had to walk through it to get the feel of the tall ferns and trees used. Feedback from visitors showed that this strategy worked.

This was a talk that really let the listener feel on the inside of what goes on at Chelsea, delivered with David’s delightful sense of humour and abundant expertise.


Photographed before the talk were Mayor Nicolette Botha-Guthrie, David Davidson, Rob Fryer, Anina Lee and Shirley Volkwyn.