With less than a week left before the sold-out RHS Chelsea Flower Show, garden enthusiasts will soon descend on the venue in their droves for the chance to experience the pinnacle event of the horticultural calendar. The RHS Chelsea Flower Show will comprise of 28 gardens to view and over 100 floral displays on show, showcasing the best in the world of gardening as new and returning designers compete for the chance to win a gold medal.
The event boasts something for everybody, with highlights including the BBC Radio 2 Feel Good Gardens. They are designed to leave attendees in a state of happiness and to remind people to “get out into the garden and get close to nature”, says Sue Biggs, RHS director general. Chris Evans, host of the Radio 2 Breakfast Show and former Top Gear co-presenter, will be taking his show to Chelsea as he performs an outside broadcast from 630-930am. He has also collaborated with acclaimed baker Mary Berry to create the Chris Evans Taste Garden, which has been designed by Jon Wheatley. Aspiring chefs and bakers will get the chance to learn more about the UK’s tastiest plants at the garden.
“We’re going al fresco and gardening bonkers for a very special show at the world’s most prestigious horticultural happening. We cannot wait,” said Evans, Berry added, “The garden is bursting with delicious and tasty plants to whet the appetite and help you feel good by enhancing your lifestyle and health and well-being.”
Taste of Malta at RHS Chelsea Flower Show
For those who haven’t visited Malta before, James and Helen Basson – who have previously won gold medals at the event in 2013, 2015 and 2016 – will be bringing a taste of the country to the event with their M&G Garden: Melitense. The garden has received special permission for the use of some unusual and specific plants from the Maltese government. Basson’s message behind their Maltese-inspired garden is to remind visitors about the importance of sustainable water disposal, recycling and composting, with the goal to preserve fragile environments and delicate landscapes in areas such as Malta.
Speaking to The Telegraph about their garden, Helen Basson said: “By taking an extreme, mineral, ‘hard’ man-made space and working with nature to make it beautiful, we hope to persuade people that all those urban spaces [that] we don’t know what to do with can be turned into something extraordinary.”
Sustainability at RHS Chelsea Flower Show
Joining the event with her first RHS Chelsea Flower Show garden is Charlotte Harris. After training and working in Tom Stuart-Smith’s design practice, Harris had the opportunity to experience the Chelsea Flower Show in 2014 and 2016 as she worked on gardens by Luciano Giubbilei and Hugo Bugg respectively. The issue of sustainability continues to be a hot topic in the world, Harris’ 2017 Royal Bank of Canada Garden is inspired by the immense and ecologically-vital boreal forest and freshwater lakes of Canada, and is designed to help improve recognition of the significance of sustainable fresh water resources. Discussing her aims for the garden with journalist Emma Reuss, Harris said she hopes it encourages people “to see that the forest wildernesses, like the Canadian boreal, have such critical global ecological value. Appreciating them and protecting them is a responsibility we all share”.
Another Chelsea Flower Show debutant, Manoj Malde, will be showcasing his Beneath a Mexican Sky Garden, which was inspired by renowned Mexican architect Luis Barragán. Malde hopes that his garden’s use of colour will inspire others to take that leap when designing their own garden, telling The Telegraph, “I do think people tend to be a bit scared of colour – they play things quite safe. But colour is not scary, you’ve got to just try things out”.
For those who have missed out on tickets for RHS Chelsea Flower Show, there are a number of upcoming shows planned for the summer.