RHS Flower Shows
: RHS Chelsea Flower Show
: During May the grounds of the Royal Hospital in Chelsea come alive with the sights and smells of the finest collections of flowers in the world. Nothing compares to the show gardens, created by some of the world’s leading garden designers. The smaller courtyard, chic and city gardens will inspire you with ideas that can fit into any sized plot. Every year, for five days in May, the grounds of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, are transformed into the fabulous show gardens, inspirational small gardens and vibrant horticultural displays that make up the world’s most famous flower show. The RHS Chelsea Flower Show
is the first event of the summer season and showcases the finest examples of horticultural excellence, created by the best garden designers, plantsmen and plantswomen. It sets the latest gardening trends, is plant breeders favourite place to launch new plants
and features the newest and most desirable gardening products
. Garden Designers from across the globe apply to create show gardens and, with a limited number of spaces, only very special designs make it to the show. A committee of horticultural experts meet three times to assess the applications before selecting around 20 show gardens, which will create the impact and spectacle that Chelsea is renowned for. The smaller gardens, which often act as a platform for up and coming designers, are split into four different categories – the stylish and bold chic gardens, courtyard gardens, which are for rural or semi-rural settings, roof gardens
and city gardens, which are sanctuaries for urban dwellers. Within the Great Pavilion – the centre-piece of the show – more than 100 floral displays create a vision of colours and textures and an explosion of scents. Specialist nurseries and leading exhibitors from all over the world go to great lengths to ensure their blooms are at their very best for show week.
On top of all this, visitors can pick up a wide range of gardening accessories, and many new gardening products make their debut at the show. Exhibitor categories include advisory & information , aquatic accessories , arches, arbours , gazebos & pergolas , garden art, awnings, canopies and parasols, barbecues and chimineas , blinds for greenhouses & the conservatory) , books and electronic media , plant bulbs , ceramic sculptures , garden clothing , garden gloves and garden footwear , conservatories , gardening courses and education, decking and paving , garden fencing & walling , fertilisers , mulches and composts , fruit cages and nets, kids gardening with games & toys , garden buildings , garden centres and garden nurseries , garden conservatory furniture , garden design and garden landscaping , garden gates , railings and bridges , garden gifts , garden greenhouses and cold frames , hammocks , hanging baskets and accessories , irrigation & watering equipment , labels, garden machinery , garden mats and matting , organic products , pest and disease control , plants , plant protection , ponds and garden water features , ornaments and pots , containers and planters , propagation , seeds , garden statuary , garden sculptures and other garden ornaments , sundials , supports and stakes , garden tools , trees and arboriculture services , garden turf and lawn care , water saving , wheelbarrows , wildlife and bird products. International exhibitors come from countries as far away as the Sweden, Barbados, Sri Lanka, France, Holland, Germany, Australia, Jamaica, South Africa, Trinidad & Tobago and Zimbabwe. Some exhibitors such as Nottcutts, Kelways and McBean’s Orchids have exhibited at the show since its early days. Among the top garden designers creating show gardens this year are Jinny Blom, Andy Sturgeon, Diarmuid Gavin, Sarah Eberle, Marcus Barnett, Philip Nixon and Gabriella Pape and Isabelle Van Groeningen.
Exhibits are judged by specialist RHS judging panels before the show opens, and are awarded Gold, Silver-Gilt, Silver and Bronze Medals. RHS staff, exhibitors and contractors start planning for the show 18 months in advance Work is already underway for the Show in 2008. It takes 800 people three and a half weeks to build the show . Construction of the show includes 5km of piping, 185 toilets and enough canvas to cover six football pitches . The Great Pavilion covers nearly 12,000 sq m Around 250 new plants have been launched at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show over the past four years. 7,000 sq m of turf is re-laid after the show. The showground covers 11 acres. And of course Chelsea would not be Chelsea without a glass of………….
The visitors – 157,000 visitors will attend the show. This is a capped figure and represents full capacity of the showground. The RHS currently has more than 370,000 members and the Tuesday and Wednesday are reserved for RHS members. Non-members can purchase tickets for Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Members of the Royal Family make a private visit to the show on the Preview Day (Monday). During show week 8,000 bottles of champagne, 20,000 glasses of Pimms, 110,000 cups of tea and coffee, 25,000 bottles of water and 35,000 rounds of sandwiches are sold. The RHS Chelsea Flower Show is one of the ways in which the RHS, as a charity, generates revenue to support its charitable activities. Each ticket purchased helps to fund the many activities undertaken by the RHS to promote horticulture and help gardeners. These activities include undertaking scientific research into issues affecting gardeners, holding plant trials and education events and activities.