The iconic Chelsea Flower show is a wonderful day out. Hosted by the Royal Horticultural Society, it attracts in excess of 157,000 visitors annually. Breathtaking gardens and floral displays, rare and exotic plants, artwork, sculpture and garden features are displayed in a dizzying array of colour and light, all against the backdrop of the iconic Royal Hospital, Chelsea.
Garden designers and florists compete for the coveted Chelsea Flower Show awards, and corporations sponsor designers and gardens to create publicity. Charities use their gardens as an opportunity to increase public awareness of their causes. This year’s Best Show Garden was The Morgan Stanley Garden for the NSPCC.
Here designer Chris Beardshaw is presented with his award in the garden by RHS Director General Sue Biggs.
Chelsea also celebrates special occasions, like The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012.
The Royal Family and The Chelsea Flower Show
Royalty has a long association with Chelsea. HM The Queen traditionally attends on the first day every year, a day when Chelsea is open only to invited guests and the press. Other members of the Royal family often attend throughout the show, sometimes to witness the unveiling of a rose, orchid or exotic plant named in their honour. This year Sophie, the Countess of Wessex was also in attendance.
Whether you love gardens or flower arranging, there’s so much to see at The Chelsea Flower Show. Past exhibits include floral fashion, The Diamond Jubilee and iconic gardens.
People Watching at The Chelsea Flower Show
As one of the highlights of the iconic London ‘season’, The Chelsea Flower Show a great place to people watch. Famous faces are tucked in amongst the crowd and you are constantly stumbling across well-known television presenters hard at work. The glitterati teeter along is high fashion and heels. Shepherded on private tours by garden designers, they appear behind the ropes in the beautiful gardens, clutching glasses of champagne and admiring the view.
What to Wear at The Chelsea Flower Show
Seasoned veterans of Chelsea are dressed for comfort in light layers (perhaps a summer dress and a light sweater or shawl, or linen trousers, blouse and a jacket) and flat shoes. The Chelsea Flower Show covers a huge area and the British weather can be very unpredictable!
It can get very crowded, so it’s best to arrive early or attend later in the day.
Great Garden Inspiration
Chelsea offers something for everyone, from garden inspiration to shopping, as well as fine dining and a change to relax with a glass of champagne in the (hopefully!) sunshine. A visit to The Great Pavilion can provide you with everything you could possibly need to make your garden beautiful, as well as lots of things to add to your wish list!
The Chelsea Flower Show runs from May 22nd to 26th, 2018 in the grounds of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, London. While it may be too late to obtain tickets for this year’s show, you can follow all the coverage on the RHS website and on BBC Television.
More Gardening Inspiration
All photographs marked ©RHS are used with the permission of the Royal Horticultural Society.