Chelsea Flower Show
Think Olympics. Think Oscars. Think Pulitzer Prize... Now while it may be difficult to align that same thrill with, say, a begonia or a chrysanthemum, when it comes to the Royal Horticultural Society Chelsea Flower Show, this is all of the above (and then some) for those who love their gardens. The pinnacle of pinnacles, it is quite simply the greatest flower show on Earth.
The RHS Chelsea Flower Show has been held in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, London every year since 1913 and even today is still, unarguably, the world’s most prestigious flower show. After all, nowhere makes gardening more fashionable, with its catwalk of colour and creativity, biggest and brightest ideas, latest plant trends and the very best of garden design. Now combine all this with fashion-forward thinking, celebrity visitors and a royal flourish, and it's no wonder RHS Chelsea is the highlight of the horticultural calendar.
Space to Grow Highlights
The new Space To Grow category will predominantly feature smaller gardens offering original ideas and trends to inspire visitors to transform their outdoor spaces and feel the benefits that growing can bring. One of its exhibitors, Kate Gould, will be going for her fifth gold medal with ‘The West End Secret Garden’, a modern interpretation of the gardens and architecture of London’s West End, highlighting the use of environmentally positive technology to create a contemporary pocket of green space. ‘Pearlfisher’s Garden’ by conceptual designer John Warland celebrates the beauty of the world’s largest garden found beneath our oceans and highlights the devastating impact plastic waste is having on our underwater eco systems.
Meanwhile ‘The Seedlip Garden’, designed by Catherine McDonald, is a celebration of the humble pea (yes, you read that right: everything from plant palette, forms, colours, patterns and multi-sensory elements are significant to Pisum sativum, the pea and the wider pea family, Fabaceae). Also, former RHS Young Designer Tony Woods will use sculpture, materials and plants in the environmentally conscious ‘Urban Flow’ garden which with bold features and colourful demonstrates how best to utilise green spaces.
Artisan Garden Highlights
Continuing into their extended location on the plateau in Ranelagh Gardens, the popular Artisans aim to revitalise traditional materials and methods with new design approaches. Artisan favourite, multi-gold medal winning designer Kazuyuki Ishihara, is creating a garden inspired by O-mo-te-na-shi no NIWA, a Japanese concept of sincere and wholehearted hospitality. Sarah Eberle also returns designing both an Artisan Garden and the Hillier exhibit in the Great Pavilion for the third year running. This year she is working with British Council India with a garden that celebrates India’s love of cricket. Kate Savill and Tamara Bridge join forces once again with ‘The Warner Edwards Garden’, a design that reimagines the landscape and planting of the gin distillery’s home in Northamptonshire, creating an authentic and sociable space. Also, after a four year absence from the show, multi-award winning designer Paul Hervey-Brookes has designed an Artisan Garden depicting the importance of wellbeing in the Nordic way of life.
Show Garden Highlights
This year 10 Show Gardens will fill Main Avenue where tradition and romance will contrast with contemporary and urban design.
Multi-award winning designer Sarah Price returns after a five year absence with a romanticised Mediterranean haven that celebrates the expressive and sensual language of colour and texture, light and shadow. The garden is primarily made up of water, planting and earth, demonstrating how simple, sustainable materials can create a rich atmosphere and unforgettable space. Debut Chelsea designer Tom Massey presents The Lemon Tree Trust Garden, a communal garden designed for a community of refugees displaced in Domiz camp in Northern Iraq, where such gardens bring a sense of normality, wellbeing, peace and civility to broken lives. With the World Health Organization predicting that 2030, 60 per cent of the population will live in cities, returning designer Hay Hwang is creating a futuristic ‘Eco-City’ Garden. The garden is intended for a modern city tower block where each unit has a garden, reimagining the concept of vertical forests and applying it to residential apartments. While other Show Garden highlights include award winning designer Jo Thompson’s The Wedgwood Garden, last year’s People’s Choice winner Chris Beardshaw and first time designer Jonathan Snow’s garden inspired by a South African Wine Estate.
The Great Pavilion, a plant lover’s paradise at the heart of RHS Chelsea, will be home to over 90 exhibits from the world’s best nurseries, growers and florists. D’Arcy & Everest celebrate 25 years of exhibiting at the Show, while Hampshire Carnivorous Plants aim for their 20th gold in 20 years, and Peter Beales Roses will mark their 50th anniversary with the launch of a new rose. A floral feast will be served up by the National Association of Flower Arrangement Societies with an imaginative flower and foliage display depicting the four seasons, and Floral Fundamentals’ UNITY exhibit will showcase the creative skills of Europe's greatest floral designers in their representation of the stages of bulb production, from growth through to display.
One of the most successful exhibitors at RHS Chelsea, Hillier Nurseries will for the third year be working with multi-award winning designer Sarah Eberle with a walk-through garden made up of smaller areas with take home inspiration. While multi-award winning specialty fern nursery Fernatix return to the Pavilion for the first time since 2007 alongside fellow fern nursery and new face Kells Bay House and Gardens. Other new nurseries include Orchideengarten, Flowers from the Farm, Grafton Nursery, Ottershaw Cacti and Wack’s Wicked Plants.