The Chelsea Flower Show: what to see at the biggest show of the year


rhs-logo-horizontalThe RHS Chelsea Flower Show remains one of the biggest garden shows in the world, and is a must visit for anyone with a real love for horticulture.  Visitors from all over the world head to the gardens of the Chelsea Royal Hospital to view hundreds of different displays across multiple styles.

In other words, if you’re a gardening fan you need to be there!  2015’s Flower Show is running from 19th-23rd May, so there’s still more than enough time to grab tickets and get somewhere to stay sorted out.

These are some of the major gardens that’ll be on display throughout the event:

The Retreat – M&G

Jo Thompson, an award-winning gardener who’s previously graced the event, will return this year to work on the garden from show-sponsors M&G Investments.  The Retreat has been beautifully crafted, comprising of a natural oak-framed building, a natural swimming pool and a number of stunning trees, not to mention multiple roses, irises and geraniums.  A definite must-visit.

The Beauty of Islam – Al Barari Firm Management LLC

A Chelsea Flower Show debut for Bin Zaal and Al Barari, The Beauty is designed to represent real tranquillity as well as the link between humanity and the earth which is prominent within Islamic Culture.  Features include both planting and harder landscape patterns as well as displays of poetry, calligraphy and textures and displays of rosemary, papyrus and jasmine.

The Brewin Dolphin Garden

Designed and created by Darren Hawkes, the Brewin Dolphin Garden is heavily inspired by Neolithic dolmens as well as the work of artists such as James Turrell.  More than 40,000 pieces of hand-cut slate make up elevated ‘stepping stones’ across the garden’s stream and woodland plantations which contain ferns, aquilegia and bleeding heart as well as other plants.  The garden also has an underground stream flowing into a pool.

Cloudy Bay Garden – Vital Earth

Designed to reflect the tasting notes of two of Cloudy Bay’s most popular wines, Cloudy Bay Garden will definitely be one for the vino lovers.  Plantings of red, purple and plum as well as the floral fresh light white and greens can be found within a space that encompasses the characteristics of both Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc.  A quite unique garden that’s almost certain to attract hundreds of visitors.

The Hidden Beauty of Kranji with Esmond and Uniseal

The debut of John Tan and Raymond Toh at the Flower Show, this garden is inspired by the lush natural landscape of Kranji, a suburb of Singapore.   Everything in the space is designed to whisk visitors away to the native land, with palms, coconuts, figs and ferns spread throughout the garden.  The orchids, meanwhile, draw visitors along pathways through more tropical planting and past a cascading waterfall in a display of real elegance.

The Homebase Garden

Following on from a Gold Medal for his Time to Reflect design in 2014, Adam Frost returns for this year’s Homebase garden.  Taking strong inspiration from the work of modernist architect Marcel Breuer, the garden represents the balance of manmade and natural structure, as well as community.    With varying features including a lawn, water features and an arbour in which visitors can observe the sky.  A unique garden that’s definitely worth seeing.

Staying in London

There are three main options for people choosing to stay in London:

  • If you’re planning to stay as close as possible to the flower show, then a hotel room might well be the best options.  There are hundreds of rooms within the area (no surprise given that this is central London).  The major negative is that hotel rooms in Chelsea can be extremely expensive: it’s one of the priciest areas in the city.
  • Bed and Breakfasts. Offering the same style as hotels, bed and breakfasts can sometimes be cheaper, making them ideal for anyone looking to stay in the capital on a budget.  The one thing to consider is that they often don’t come with the mod-cons of a hotel.  Indeed, they can often be virtually self-catering.
  • Serviced apartments. Definitely the best option for anyone travelling for the whole show (or as part of a group).  Serviced apartments are exactly that: whole apartments that you can rent for the same price you would an equivalent hotel room.  Refresh Apartments have an array of accommodation that is perfect if you want home-cooked meals and enjoy a real living area whilst staying in the capital.

Wherever you choose to stay, though, be sure to have a great time.  The Chelsea Flower Show really is a brilliant few days for garden lovers!

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