Towards the end of May, you would be hard pressed to open any newspaper or watch the news without seeing the latest updates from The Chelsea Flower Show. During this annual event, the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea are transformed into an oasis of colour and fragrance as flowers and plants from around the world are brought together in one place.
Billed as the world’s greatest flower show the event runs from the 24th to the 28th of May this year and is organised by the Royal Horticultural Society. It features various plant themed displays and cutting-edge design from world-renowned horticulturists. In 2015, the show was visited by over 165,000 people and it is expected that this year the numbers may even top that.
The first day of the show is always Press Day and various celebrities such as Rosamund Pike, Demi Moore and Mary Berry were seen enjoying the displays. If you are intending to drop by, what highlights can you expect to see this year?
The Queen’s 90th Birthday Floral Arch
HM the Queen is patron of The Royal Horticultural Society and as Her Majesty celebrates her 90th birthday it is only fitting that a stunning floral arch has been designed to mark the occasion. The Queen accompanied by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who were enjoying their first visit to the event, were given a tour of the show on the first day and admired the arch and the photographic exhibits which accompany it.
Health, Happiness and Horticulture
We are all aware that our happiness levels lift when we are in nature and the theme of the show this year highlights the wellbeing benefits of bringing plants to urban areas. BBC presenter Ann-Marie Powell has designed an exhibit dedicated to this subject and in the process, she provides visitors with tips they can try at home in their own green spaces.
It’s also being highlighted how important nature is for our health and Chris Beardshaw has designed a Show Garden which will be taken as a whole to the centre of Great Ormond Street Hospital after the event where it will be a place for parents to spend some quiet time.
Working in the garden can also be a great form of exercise with all the weeding, digging and mowing involved. ‘Healthy Garden, Healthy Gardeners’, an exhibit by Coventry University, demonstrates how our muscles are put under immense pressure as we work in the garden and what we can do to lessen the potential for any strains or injuries.
A Musical Evening
If you are a fan of music just as much as of the great outdoors, then you will appreciate the twilight event which features a glass of champagne as you listen to the celebrated Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Orchestra.
The Great Pavilion
The centrepiece of the Great Pavilion this year is a 60-foot carriage from Belmond British Pullman. Surrounding it in the 6,000sq foot space is a fully planted-up station. There are also beautiful and thought provoking exhibits from more than 100 specialist plant breeders, nurseries and societies. One highlight is the ‘Discovery Zone’ which highlights the importance of plant science.
The Chelsea Flower Show is a great escape into nature whether you are a keen gardener or not and there is an abundance of things to see and do and plenty of places to shop. The event is relatively easy to get to with the closest tube station at Sloane Square, the nearest rail station at London Victoria and public parking allocated in Battersea Park, which can even be pre-booked with your tickets. If you want to arrive in style you could check out one of the bespoke charters which land close by at The London Heliport in Battersea.
There are very few tickets available, however, so if you want to get your hands on them you will have to act fast. Alternatively, you can enjoy the highlights of this year’s event on television and then make sure you plan ahead early for next year when you will be able to truly enjoy a bloom filled London in May.