Chelsea Flower Show 2019

What To See at Chelsea Flower Show 2021

Culture /


The world's biggest flower show is back for its first ever autumnal edition

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The RHS Chelsea Flower Show is the most famous and prestigious event of its kind. It has taken place in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea every year since 1913 – apart from gaps during the two World Wars, and last year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. This year, it’s returning for an in-person event from 21 – 26 September instead of May, and things will look and feel a little different.

For the first time in history, the show will run for an extra day due to a reduction in the amount of visitors the show can accommodate at any one time. The change of season, meanwhile, will present new challenges for the garden designers. Nonetheless, you can expect the same calibre of spectacular show gardens as ever, plus some exciting new additions. Here are the highlights…

What To See at Chelsea Flower Show 2021

Chelsea Flower Show 2019

‘The Living Herbarium’ floral display by Gail Smith. Floristry. RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019.

RHS COP26 Garden

Biodiversity is a key focus for this year, with a special garden designed to tie in with COP26. Designed by landscape architects Balston Agius, led by Marie-Louise Agius, the garden aims to highlight the importance of the climate crisis as well as encourage visitors to make a difference within their own green spaces. It’s based around four themes: decline, adaptation, mitigation and balance, offering plenty of take-home inspiration on everything from landscaping to growing vegetables.

House Plant Studios

Indoor plant enthusiast? Head to the new House Plant Studios, which demonstrate how bringing greenery inside can have both aesthetic and environmental benefits. ‘Green Bathroom Retreat’ showcases a wide range of plants suitable for bathrooms, while ‘The Green Room’ invites guests to swing in a suspended giant macramé hanger.

Chelsea Flower Show 2018

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth views the Peter Beales Roses exhibition at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018 in London Monday, May 21, 2018. RHS / Luke MacGregor

Italianate Market

Have a taste of la dolce vita at the Italianate market, a piazza surrounding the Great Pavilion with olive trees, cypress and handmade terracotta pots. Created by olive tree grower and supplier, Villaggio Verde, the setting provides the perfect backdrop for specialist growers of rare and autumnal produce who would not normally be found at the flower show.

M&G Garden, Chelsea Flower Show

Christian Tate

M&G Garden

Urban settings can offer tranquil retreats too, says the M&G Garden, created by Harris Bugg Studio. Designed to challenge our usual notions of what a garden can be, the space aims to inspire gardeners and developers to transform neglected areas into beautiful green spaces across cities and towns. As part of the project, the studio collaborated with architect Andrew Mcmullan, founder of Mcmullan Studio, to create a 100 linear metre metal pipework sculpture that weaves its way around the garden.

Small Gardens

Tiny spaces can have a big impact, which is why RHS Chelsea has added two new categories to its collection: Balcony Gardens and Container Gardens. For the first, five new-to-Chelsea designers were challenged to produce a pocket-sized garden in the footprint of a 2m x 5m balcony. The latter, meanwhile, is targeted at the increasing number of people using containers to maximise their outdoor space at home. A selection of 4m x 3m spaces showcase an array of container styles, from repurposed IBC containers to hand-built ceramics.

Main image: Chelsea Flower Show 2019

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