Enjoy All The Buzz of Chelsea 18 – 23 May
So many of us look forward to this special week in May when the countryside comes to London to enjoy the spectacle that is the Chelsea Flower Show.
There is always a wonderful energy as you emerge from the Tube station and start walking through Sloane Square and towards the show. Shops adorned with stunning displays of British Spring flowers abound along with the excited chatter of lots of incredibly polite people all on their way to this beloved national institution. It is something truly unique to the UK and will be greatly missed this year by all. However, the good news is the world’s greatest flower show is going digital, to bring us an exciting line-up of world-leading designers, plant experts and practical gardening advice: daily videos from gardening experts, behind the scenes tours from award winning nurseries, a daily School Gardening Club to involve home schooled children and lots more. There’ll also be further BBC coverage from Sunday 17 May celebrating the show with some of our favourite presenters.
A History of Chelsea
From humble beginnings, Chelsea has become the most famous flower show in the world. The first show was held in 1913 and known as The Great Spring Show. It was a three day event in a single tent attended by the King’s mother Queen Alexandra. In the late 1920’s, the show grew with separate tents appearing for roses, pictures, scientific exhibits and displays of garden design. Two Chelsea residents, the Countess of Lovelace and Jacqueline Hope held tea parties for celebrities and titled guests to mark the show. Interestingly, a rock garden was the first type of Show Garden to appear at Chelsea. Between the two wars, rock gardens continued to be the most popular feature and from 1932 judging took place followed by a royal visit. The show was replaced by the ‘Dig for Victory’ campaign in 1939.
The show returned in 1947 and was a hailed a triumph but it took time to get exhibitors back after the Second World War. In 1951 the world’s largest tent was erected for the show and Queen Elizabeth 11 was made royal patron of the RHS in 1952. She made her first visit as Queen in 1955 and has only missed two years since she was crowned – three including 2020. By 1979, the show was so popular and crowded that admissions were prevented for the first time. Show Gardens continued to grow through the 1980’s and daily tickets had to be limited to 40,000 per day. Throughout this century, the garden design has become increasingly daring and charitable. The show has formed strong bonds with a myriad of designers and sponsors and continues to be the world’s most famous flower show at the very cutting edge of garden design. The Main Avenue is packed with top names and the Great Pavilion bursting with exhibitors. It is a wonderful day out with those of us who love our gardens and gardening, benefit from seeing the absolute best of the best at the height of perfection. We are already eagerly looking forward to 2021.