What is the Chelsea Flower Show exactly?
The RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) Chelsea Flower Show is a five-day-long annual spectacular of flowers, plants and show gardens, hosted in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea.
For visitors, it's one of the places to see cutting-edge garden design, discover new plants and trends, and take home a wheelbarrow of flowers/tools/inspiration. For exhibitors, it's the chance to show off their concepts/green fingers, and maybe scoop a coveted award or two.
TLDR: Think of it as the Glastonbury Festival of the horticultural world. Or, if that comparison's not working for you, a really posh garden centre.
When is the Chelsea Flower Show?
It runs from 24-28 May 2022, although the first two days are reserved for paying members of the RHS (boo). From 26-28 May the hoi polloi can get get their mitts on tickets.
How much are tickets?
Non-member day tickets start from £40.85, although it looks like they've sold out. The cheapest day tickets are now £85.85.
That's too spendy for me
Fair. Well, the BBC offers comprehensive coverage of the show, and there are plenty of other RHS shows you can go to instead, including one in Hampton Court in July.
What are the highlights of the 2022 show?
Over 30 gardens will feature, with a wealth of different styles and technologies to appreciate. We've hand-plucked a few:
- The Meta Garden: Growing the Future: highlighting the versatility of timber, and how nature-based solutions will help us tackle climate change.
- Hands Off Mangrove by Grow2Know: promoting the healing/unifying power of gardening, this community effort will be replanted in Kensington once the Chelsea Flower Show's over.
- RNLI Garden: a sea of whites, blue and pinks fills this classically-inspired garden, which also features Chinese elm and Scots pine — a hint at the traditional lifeboat-building materials used when the charity was formed in 1824.
- Brewin Dolphin Garden: an illustration of how brownfield sites can be transformed, this garden is planted with species that collect carbon at higher rates, improving air quality.
- Out of the Shadows: a lush, palm ensconced safe space with swim spa, climbing bars, and yoga and meditation areas — inspired by the dark times of late.
Do I need a garden to enjoy the show?
We won't lie, you'll probably feel more invested in the Chelsea Flower Show if you have a garden of your own. However! It is a day out in its own right, where you get to admire a host of exclusive gardens in one place. Plus the gardening community these days aren't all land-owning, secateur-wielding know-it-alls. There's also stuff aimed at people with limited space, for example, The Potting Balcony Garden provides inspo for growing on balconies, and nurturing microgreens for the kitchen.
What's the history of Chelsea Flower Show?
Its historical roots run deep; hosted in Chelsea since 1912, before that, the show was initially called 'The Great Spring Show', which was first held in Kensington in 1862. Before THAT, it was hosted from 1833 in the RHS's garden in Chiswick. Between 1888 and 1912, it was the Temple Flower Show, located in Temple Gardens, off Fleet Street.
What celebs will be at the Chelsea Flower Show?
You're bound to run into a green-fingered celeb or two. You'll probably spot the common-or-garden Gardeners' World presenter (Monty Don, Frances Tophill, Carol Klein etc). But many other famous faces flock here — last year (when the show was in September because of Covid) the likes of Dame Judi Dench, Bill Bailey, Ronan Keating and Sally Phillips were in attendance. It's also a hotspot for royalty. Who knows, you might even see the Queen.