This year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show celebrated its centenary year with its usual inspirational style
This, the world’s greatest flower show is always a massive source of inspiration offering an amazing day out for gardeners, world-class or not so serious… and this year was no exception with magnificent show gardens, a breathtaking Great Pavilion and lots of tempting shopping opportunities.
Looking back to 1913, the year of the first Chelsea Flower Show, planning and planting up a garden was a very different story. Although gardeners were just as passionate about plants, there were no garden centres and class and the social scale were prominent factors. The wealthy lady of the house would visit the Chelsea Flower Show with her head gardener to source plants and place orders. Plants would eventually arrive in the autumn in boxes via the railway station. For the not so wealthy, perennials, annuals, fruit and vegetables were traded from house to house, a reason that you still see similar planting patterns along a row of cottages. Things changed when FW Woolworth and Sutton & Sons arrived in the early 1900s bringing quality seeds and plants to the High Street and after the Second World War, Chelsea broadened its social appeal. The first recognized garden centre opened in London in 1961 and the slow spread across the country surely changed the nature of the annual visit to SW3.
The RHS Chelsea Show, always spectacular, entertaining and colourful, thankfully continues to thrive offering huge inspiration to even the most casual garden lover.
Plan to take your group next year 20-24 May 2014. Best Show Garden this year went to the innovative and sustainable Trailfinders Austrailian Garden presented by Fleming’s. This lovely relaxing and inviting space used native Australian plants from lush ferns to bright kangaroo paws and bottle trees.
Best Artisan Garden award went to the Japanese garden, an alcove garden with traditional tatami room. After the Fire took the Best Fresh Garden award with their interpretation of a forest regeneration. In the Great Pavilion, the Diamond Jubilee Award went to Warmenhoven for their display of alliums and amaryllis. The President’s award went to Blackmore & Langdon for their delphinium and begonia display.
There’s still time to visit one of the 2013 RHS Flower Shows
RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show takes place from 9th-14th July
RHS Flower Show Tatton Park is from 25-28 July
The Malvern Autumn Show from 28-29 September
RHS Harvest Festival Show from 8-9 October
RHS Shades of Autumn from 22-23 October