It’s May already! Which means the Chelsea Flower Show will be on our TV screens before the end of the month. So pull up an armchair (as all the official tickets are sold out) – here’s what to look out for at this year’s show…
A major campaign for the RHS, Greening Grey Britain aims to reverse the trend in the UK for paving over our front gardens and drives. It also hopes to improve the green space in communal living accommodation (flats and apartments) and inspire more gardens, window boxes and flowers in urban environments.
Paving over front gardens and green areas has been shown to increase the flood risk in local communities and increases the heat in the local area as paved surfaces retain heat. With this in mind the RHS Greening Grey Britain garden will be a show highlight this year – perhaps it might even inspire you to get the pickaxe out on your own paved areas? The garden demonstrates how to grow plants even in challenging locations (akward layouts, vertical walls, small balconies) and make your space welcoming and alive.
In the Fresh Garden catagory, Jack Dunckley’s ‘The Bermuda Triangle’ garden showcases the best of modern design and exotic planting, with a conceptual volcano and abundant foliage. At 23 Jack is also one of the youngest exhibitors and looks set to shake up our ideas about garden design.
Manoj Malde’s garden, ‘Inland Homes: Beneath a Mexican Sky’, is a vibrant and colourful garden which uses the artist Luis Barragan as its inspiration. Combining drought tolerant planting with bold swathes of wall colour, this arresting and invigorating garden shows British gardeners how to take the plunge with colour.
These small and intricately detailed gardens range this year from the Mediterannean to the Lowestoft coast. The International Boat Building Training College in Lowestoft has made a smaller replica of a 900 year old boat, discovered in the broads in 2013, to celebrate the maritime heritage of the region. The planting reflects the wild and beautiful natural flora of the broads, with rare ferns, meadowsweet and loosestrife contributing to a naturalistic and fluid planting palette.
At Chelsea, pretty much everything is worth tuning-in to see, but some more unusual sights include a show garden with a real beach as well as a Great Pavillion display that shows how plants are adapted to shady conditions. The ‘Delight in the Dark’ exhibit will illuminate visitors about the ways that plants adapt to shade, including iridescent plants.
Burncoose Nurseries will also be highlighting the lesser known work that moths, flies and beetles perform in polinating plants.
Although all the tickets for this year’s show are sold out, there’s still a pretty good view to be had from your sofa, as the camera angles and interview pieces often get right inside the gardens. You might not get the sounds, scents and atmosphere at home, but you’ll avoid the heavy crowds at least.
Chelsea flower show is held from 23rd – 27th May 2017. Hosted across the BBC on various platforms including TV, radio and social media.