Now wasn't that the most mindblowingly beautiful annual flowering meadow you have ever seen?
A gold medal please for Professor Nigel Dunnett!
It's not only the athletes who are concerned with their times. An area the size of ten football pitches has just been sown with annuals. The gardeners and designers who are creating the Olympic meadows have been trialling the flowers used for two years to be sure of getting them to come into flower at exactly the right time. As much of a challenge as the mens' 100 metres I'm sure. Sleepless nights if the weather isn't right! Stress!
The Chelsea Chop is the name given to the practice of cutting plants back (around the time of the Chelsea Flower Show, hence the name) to get later flowers, to get more flowers, and/or to get a plant that is shorter and sturdier and less vulnerable to weather damage.
I've read that it began when wealthy people were in the habit of going to their contry estates for the month of August and the gardeners tried to get everything in the pleasure gardens to flower during that month.
There was also a fashion in the 19C and early 20C for banking flowers like Michaelmas daisies with taller ones to the back andshorter ones to the front - it seems that if the front ones were cut back early enough they could all be in flower at the same time, creating spectacular effects. head gardeners must have kept careful notes as to what worked and when.
Timing was everything - as it is today for the Chelsea Show and the Olympics, and to a much lesser degree for those who open their gardens for charity. I'm chopping a few things and watering a few things which seem slow (the seeded patches on the lawn) but I won't be losing sleep over them!