The RHS Chelsea Flower Show has made a “sensational” return in May. Visitors were welcomed to tour the spaces and gardens once again including the royal family.
It’s said that it is one of the Queen’s favourite events and on Monday the 23rd, she welcomed the crowds by making an appearance on the first day at Royal Hospital Chelsea.
There are 39 gardens at this year’s show. These were made up of 13 show gardes, 12 sanctuary gardens, four balcony gardens, five containers gardes, four ‘All About Plants’ gardens, and one feature garden.
There was something for everyone this year. Each garden provides inspiration and ‘take-home’ ideas, all while bringing to light issues about either the environment or the effects of gardening on mental health. Situated on Main Avenue, the Show Gardens showcase the best in horticulture and ‘exellence in garden design.’ These are the largest gardens at Chelsea. All About Plants meanwhile is a new category that examines the ‘positive power’ of plants in interesting and unique ways.
Following a rigorous judging process, Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) judges awarded garden designers with either Gold, Silver-Gilt, Silver, or Bronze medals on the official opening day.
Lulu Urquhart and Adam Hunt’s A Rewilding Britain Landscape were awarded Best in Show. This marks the second consecutive year where first-time designers were give the top medal. This shows a rewilding landscape in the south-west of England following the reintrduction of the beaver, a native, keystone species. The garden, with its scented wildflowers and swaying willows, reflects the landscape and how it evolves when nature is able to flourish.
Andy Sturgeon’s The Mind Garden was designed for the mental health charity Mind. It hopes to inspire uss to connect with one another for our mental wellbeing. It’s no wonder it was awarded the Gold in the Show Garden category.
Exhibits from the London Fire Brigade (LFB) along with Dalefoot Composts and Eden Project showcased how small changes can combat bigger issues that cause everyday problems. Permeable paving and extra plantain were highlighted by LFB as ways of reducing of flooding i the home. This comprised of a dramatic exhibit that included a partially submerged car.
Dalefoot Composts and Eden Project showed how swapping to peat-free compost projects peat bogs. These are important carbon stores
For those who grow their own fruit ad vegetables, Celeste Mueth’s Grow Your Garden demonstrations how rop rotatio improves soil and plant health. Similarly, OmVed Gardens’ Saving Seed focuses on the protection of seed diversity to strengthen food systems.
Exhibits from Forest Carbon and the Animal and Plant Health – Don’t Risk It! highlighted how the environment can be protected by carbon offsetting through nature restoration. They also looked at how reducing plant movements protect against plant pests and diseases.
“The Discovery Zone brings the science of horticulture to life and many of this year’s exhibits highlight the different planet-friendly practices that can help combat the current climate crisis,” Helena Pettit, RHS Director of Gardens & Shows said. “They perfectly demonstrate how enthusiasts and professional gardeners alike can support the environment through adopting simple changes and practices.”
The Happy Housplants exhibition provided a daily ‘Plant Clinic’ that taught people how to bettercare for houseplants. The Clinic featured plants with sculpural beauty that are affordable, readily available, and easy to care for.
The show also celebrated the Queen’s Jubilee with several decorative floral and plant displays to reflect the Queen’s long-standing support for the charity. Highlights included a bespoke sculptural portrait of the Queen in the official Platinum Jubilee shade of purple. Renwoned florist Simon Lycett designed the beautiful silhouette which was covered by an assortment of native British-grown tree branches. Inner shelves were arranged with 70 terracotta pots planted with Lily of the Valley, one of the Queen’s favourite plants which featured in her Coronation bouquet. There was also a photography exhibition that depicted images of her visiting the show during her time on the throne.
Now 110 years old, the Chelsea Flower Show has always been one of the flagship events in the London calendar and will continue to inspire and entertain for years to come.
Image: RHS / Sarah Cuttle