The prestigious Chelsea Flower Show blossoms annually in May and is loved by gardening enthusiasts and tourists alike. This year the mesmerising event runs from May 20–24.
The Chelsea Flower Show is one of the world’s largest and has been held annually in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea since 1913. Showcasing beautiful garden designs and horticultural displays, the visual feast is the result of some seriously dedicated hard work and planning.
The show has become an important stage for emerging gardening trends – new plants are launched and the popularity of older varieties are revived.
With an Australian taking the gong for ‘Best in Show’ in 2013, it’s a great destination for Australian travellers to see and support their own as they ferociously contest the highly coveted award.
What to expect in 2014
If you are a history buff, you will know that 2014 marks the centenary of the outbreak of World War I. In recognition of this milestone, the Chelsea Flower Show will pay homage to the Great War showcasing poppies, wartime memorabilia and the reconstruction of trenches.
Another flower making its presence felt this season is the begonia. Over the past year, less-than-desirable weather conditions have seen a plague of downy mildew affecting the competition. Begonias have proved resilient to these changing weather conditions and their reputation as old fashioned and a little common is being forgotten as they surge in popularity.
Love them or hate them, the sunflower will also make its mark on the show this year. To celebrate 50 years of the ‘Britain in Bloom’ campaign, the Royal Horticultural Society will be giving away 500,000 sunflower seeds in the lead up to the Chelsea Flower Show.
Other highlights for 2014 include an herb garden inspired by Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Peter Rabbit and Matt Keightley’s Hope on the Horizon display, which was born of his brother’s experiences in Afghanistan.
Up and comers
Once again, the up-and-coming talents of horticulture will be taking centre stage. In 2014, new talent is designing many of the gardens and exhibitors are providing opportunities for young people to take part in this world-class show.
To encourage younger gardeners, the Horticultural Trades Association is developing a campaign to get 30–45-year-old inexperienced gardeners to think of gardening as leisure not a chore. This year they will be focusing on how people can enjoy a gardening plot as more than just a place for growing flowers, herbs and veggies.
The Chelsea Flower Show will also feature quirky, time-efficient products – sprinkle and go seed, and fertiliser and compost products such as Flower Magic – as an incentive for aspiring young gardeners. Any prospective gardeners and interested travellers will love this year’s show for its hands-on focus and general appeal.
The show takes 25 days to install and involves 550 competitors. The Royal Family attend the opening of the show every year and more than 157,000 people flock through the gates. Note that tickets must be bought in advance to attend this hugely popular show.