Visit to Chelsea Flower Show

This was my first visit to RHS Chelsea Flower Show and I wasn’t disappointed. I attended on the first RHS members’ day of the show and because of this, it was busy (but not has busy as the general public days can be). The previous day, I explored the imaginative and colourful floral displays at Chelsea in Bloom, so I was primed and excited for my visit to Chelsea Flower Show.

Liz Zorab standing in front of RHS sign

The gardens had already been judged and awards made, and the Best Show Garden was announced just after I left (unrelated!).

Themes and takeaways

There were elements that were common to several of the show gardens and some planting combinations that I’ll be using in my garden this year. Many of these plants reflect what is in flower during May in the UK. Also, I was pleased to see that there very few flowers that would be considered out of season.

Tones, shades and hues of flowers

  • Deep burgundy or purple
  • Bronze and copper
  • White and cream
  • Soft pale blues

Plants

  • Silver birch (particularly multi-stemmed with pale or white trunks)
  • Lupin
  • Poppy
  • Thalictrum
  • Verbascum

Construction

  • Shade
  • Seating
  • Natural look water features

RHS Plant of the Year

Prunus ‘Starlight’ which is available from Frank P Matthews and I’ve already ordered one, which I’ll collect in a few weeks when I visit their site.

The Gardens at Chelsea Flower Show 2024

Here is a selection of the gardens on display.

Muscular Dystrophy UK | Forest Bathing Garden

This garden won Best Show Garden. Designed by . Based on the Japanese idea of Forest Bathing or Shinrin Yoku, in which people spend time intentionally observing the forest or woodland to improve their mental and physical well-being.

No Adults Allowed Garden

Designed for the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) which put at the forefront of the garden design process.

Terrence Higgins Trust | Bridge to 2030 Garden

St James’s Piccadilly | Imagine the World to be Different Garden

The Newt in Somerset | A Roman Garden

The National Autistic Society Garden

Created for the National Autistic Society to depict a typical day in the life of a person with autism.

Stroke Association’s Garden for Recovery

Another garden with a blend of bronze and copper tone flowers with purples and blue flowers.

The WaterAid Garden

The Octavia Hill Garden | Blue Diamond with the National Trust

Designed by Anne-Marie Powell, this garden won the Childrens’ Choice Award and I can understand why! It is calming, yet interesting, also colourful, yet gentle on eye. I liked the use of different paving materials and textures in the seating and pergola.

Also outstanding, was the use of colour. Toning calendula complemented the deep rust, burgundy and copper shades of the irises. And contrasted by the purple, pink and yellow plantings. The riot of colours was joyous, however none felt like they were fighting with the neighbouring colour.

You can also see highlights of my visit to BBC Gardeners’ World Live 2024.

Liz Zorab

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