Chelsea Flower Show, London

When it comes to knowing my flowers and shrubs, I’ve no idea what I’m talking about. Sure, I can tell if it’s a rose, a tulip or a daffodil but, beyond that, the extent of my knowledge of all things horticultural goes as far as ‘Ooh, that looks pretty!”

For the past few years, I’ve loved watching the daily programmes on the BBC coming directly from the show but I’ve finally decided to buy a ticket for this year…..and I can’t wait!

So, what is the Chelsea Flower Show? Well, it’s the UK’s most famous flower show where an area gets transformed into a series of show gardens that attract visitors from all over the world. It’s held over 5 days each May. Dating back to the 1860s, it’s had various locations but it’s currently held at the Royal Hospital Chelsea. But it’s not a hospital! It’s actually a retirement and nursing home for 300 people who have served for at least 12 years in the British Army, are aged 65 years or older and do not have any dependent spouses or family. Known as Chelsea Pensioners, they are encouraged to wear their distinctive uniforms and medals.

For the Chelsea Flower Show, garden designers have an area to transform into their stunning creations and they will basically bring their design to the grounds piece by piece on the back of trucks, whether it’s fully grown exotic trees, shrubs, large sculptures, materials for water features, etc. I guess it’s a bit like a Huf Haus (which, by the way I’d love to live in!) where the house comes along in sections that are then pieced together.

As well as being visited by the Queen and other members of the royal family, each garden is judged and possibly given an award. It might be bronze, silver and silver-gilt but it’s the acclaimed gold award that everyone is after. There are special awards too:

  • Best Show Garden Award
  • Best Courtyard Garden Award
  • Best Chic Garden Award
  • Best City Garden Award
  • RHS Sundries Bowl
  • RHS Junior Display Trophy
  • RHS Floral Arrangement Trophies
  • RHS Floristry Trophies
  • Show Certificates of Merit
  • Certificates for Junior Displays
  • RHS President’s Award
  • RHS Best Tradestand Award
  • RHS Director General’s Award for the Best Tradestand

And, then after the 5 day spectacular finishes, everything just disappears as if nothing had happened! So, if you love gardens, Chelsea is definitely worth checking out. And if you’re looking for something on a smaller scale open all summer but also fabulous, you might want to check out the beautiful Hannah Peschar Sculpture Gardens in Surrey (south east England) which I discovered last year. A haven for anyone who likes all things pretty, whether it’s art or gardens.

I know a few people have recently started to follow me (thank you and welcome!) You may or may not know that many of my adventures are linked to my bucket list which you can read about here

And just one more update. My little one has just had an offer come through to study at Edinburgh University in Scotland! Whoop! With just one other university to hear about, it means that little one may be at either Sheffield, Bristol or Edinburgh from September so exciting times ahead….plus it means more opportunities to visit these amazing cities when I take him at the beginning of term or pick him up at the end. Cool!



  1. My daughter and I have been wanting to visit the Chelsea Flower Show for a few years now, we’ve recently relocated back to the UK from abroad so hoping this is the year! Beautiful images , enjoyed this post.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Sarah, You’ve used three of my images in this post without permission (the three-pic montage above). I shot these for a feature for Country Living and Good Housekeeping about the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, and they are not free of copyright. I don’t work for free!


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