We're excited for the return of RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021! After being postponed for the first time in its 108 year history (yes, there was a virtual event in May but it's just not the same) we can't wait for its return on Tuesday 21st - Sunday 26th of September.
The theme: The positive impact of plants on our health and wellbeing. Very fitting after a year inside, and reflecting upon the millions of green thumbs that have found solace in their gardens. Many gardens will take inspiration from foreign landscapes- in a year where international travel has been limited- transporting visitors to faraway destinations.
Read on for the top 5 things to look out for at the RHS Chelsea Garden Show-
1. An autumnal motif will be seen running throughout:
Pumpkins, grasses and seed-heads will take centre stage- with the deep, rich hues of autumn compared to the fresh pastels palette that we would normally expect to see in spring. Celebrating fruit and vegetables, you'll find a brand new Italian inspired feature at the heart of the Great Pavilion. A piazza will surround the building with huge olive trees, cypresses and characterful handmade terracotta pots. The setting will be created by olive tree grower and supplier, Villaggio Verde, providing the perfect backdrop for specialist growers of rare and unusual autumnal produce who would not normally be found at RHS Chelsea.
2. Grasses will steal the limelight:
In May, ferns and hostas would normally deliver the fresh greenery, however as we move into autumn, ornamental grasses will be at their very best in September. 'For the first time in a long time, there will be a sole display of ornamental grasses in the Great Pavilion created by first time exhibitors Ashcroft's Perennials. With the spring show being too early in the season, they have not been seen there for a number of years and the autumn show will ensure they are in flower and looking their best,' the RHS explains.
3. Blooms will be swapped for seedheads:
Many flowers start fading in the late summer and early autumn, and seed-heads will offer interest and structure. Designer Robert Myers will be incorporating Florence Nightingale's favourite plant, the foxglove, into a garden named after her. You'll also spot seed-heads such as teasels and sanguisorbas in the Guide Dogs' 90th Anniversary Garden (below).
4. Small balcony gardens will be recognised for the first time:
Thanks to the pandemic there has been a surge in the purchase of plants and apartment gardening during lockdown. An RHS spokesperson explained, “balconies have been a lifeline for thousands over the course of the pandemic and the new category (Sanctuary Gardens), a first at this year’s historic autumn event, will promote the benefits of plants for our health and the environment". The Sanctuary Gardens category is especially for other gardens, and the exploration of how our relationship has changed with nature. It includes Finding Our Way: an NHS Tribute Garden, designed by Naomi Ferrett-Cohen, for the University of Oxford and the Oxford university hospitals NHS foundation trust, and a celebration to all the wonderful people who have worked indefatigably throughout the pandemic.
5. Tropical plants will come into their own:
Exotic plant specialists, Plantbase, who last appeared at RHS Chelsea in 2017, will be returning with a display of weird and wonderful tropical, jungle-style plants. You will be able to discover Vachellia karroo and their relationship with giraffes, a rare Ptilotus exaltatus and Adansonia madagascariensis. Tropical planting will also bring garden designs to life in The Calm of Bangkok and Trailfinders' 50th Anniversary Garden with a selection of Hedychium, Cautleya and Brugmansia.
If you still haven't purchased a ticket there are a few remaining so hurry. For more information go to RHS Chelsea Flower Show website.