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Wake up, it's a Chelsea morning

We have our Philadelphia Flower Show, and the Brits have Chelsea.

The Royal Horticultural Society Spring Flower Show is underway in London this week on the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, and it is arguably the most famous flower show in the world and  as much a part of the London social season as the races at Ascot.

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Queen Elizabeth was there to visit the show gardens, and you can have one, too, by visiting the RHS Chelsea web site for a copy of the plans.

Garden Variety has put together a slideshow of photos from Chelsea, so you can visit the show without a plane ticket.

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Streptocarpus 'Harlequin Blue' was judged Plant of the Year at the show. In second place was 'Ruby Ruby' and in third was the Cypripedium flavum, an orchid variety.

The RHS presented its first spring flower show in 1862 and moved to the grounds of Chelsea hospital in 1905.

It is attended by 157,000 visitors each year (a number limited by the capacity of the 11-acre grounds), and in 2005 was increased from four days to five.

The area of land devoted to show gardens has increased steadily since 1970, and the show has become an important venue for watching trends. New plants are often launched at the show and the popularity of older varieties often revives.

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