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Comment: ‘Perfect homes and gardens reek of desperation — embrace imperfections and enjoy your time and money’

Weeds are all the rage at Chelsea Flower Show 2023. Pictured: flowering bindweed, a vigorous vine (Alamy Stock Photo)
Weeds are all the rage at Chelsea Flower Show 2023. Pictured: flowering bindweed, a vigorous vine (Alamy Stock Photo)

What a relief to visit Chelsea this week and find show gardens proudly offering up weeds and rubble.

Not only is the focus on environmentally friendly practices at the world’s biggest gardening show reassuring but, contrary to Alan Titchmarsh’s grumbles about trendiness, the results were aesthetically pleasing and horticulturally adept.

Best of all was the move away from perfection towards a more laissez faire, rough-edged approach.

Sure, at Chelsea this is more a meticulously planned illusion than reality, but it is part of a wider trend that I am happy to embrace.

Maybe it’s the cost of living crisis, landfill guilt, or perhaps we’re all just sick of that uptight, rose-tinted Instagram look.

It’s not just gardens — the same is equally true of clothing, food and home décor. In: a little bit undone, a touch of trash and a lot of creative make do; out: the top-to-toe, brand new, latest trends lifestyle. Exhausting, desperate and a little ick when so many are struggling.

I’ve always wondered when people buy a new home, if the kitchen and bathroom are safe and fully functional, why they so often rip them out and replace them, at great added expense — rinse and repeat with every home move. The waste! Cosmetic changes can go a long way and add all the character you need — not least showing the world you’re not a mad perfectionist.

This might sound like a convoluted excuse for laziness and taking my finger off the pulse. That may well be accurate. But as far as weighing vices goes, where’s the virtue in spending thousands on a new kitchen or hours mowing stripes into a lawn?

Let me give you the gift of time and money — sit back and admire the weeds, it’s all the rage.