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The Chelsea Flower Show: A Look Back Over the Years

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Chelsea Flower Show

The Chelsea Flower Show: A Look Back Over the Years

Culture /


We look back at the Chelsea Flower Show's history and highlights

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For the first time since World War II, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show has been cancelled due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. But fear not; the annual spring spectacle is going virtual. 

The Royal Horticultural Society has announced that between 18 and 23 May, the Chelsea Flower Show will be available to view online though a series of virtual content – from garden tours to floristry displays – ‘to celebrate our great horticultural industry and gardening heritage’.

In an open letter regarding the new online venture, RHS director general Sue Biggs stated:

‘Two things have become very evident since these cancellations.  The first is that so many, whether watching on the BBC or attending the show, whilst understanding this decision, feel such an immense hole in their lives and deep disappointment that RHS Chelsea will not take place this year.

‘The second is how many feel they need gardening in their life now more than ever before for their mental and physical wellbeing during this national emergency.  This applies to everyone from those who are having to self-isolate to families planning, maybe for the first time, to grow their own food.’

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Chelsea Flower Show 2019

RHS / Luke MacGregor

In light of the good news, we’re looking back at some of the Chelsea Flower Show’s history and past highlights; a reminder of all the beauty that London possesses and that good things are yet to come.

View the Virtual RHS Chelsea Flower Show at rhs.org.uk

The Chelsea Flower Show: A Look Back Over the Years

Photo 1 of
  • Chelsea Flower Show

    Queen Mary with group at the 1913 show.

    Courtesy of RHS Lindley Collections

  • Chelsea Flower Show

    Queen Mary and King George V at the 1920 show.

    Courtesy of RHS Lindley Collections

  • Chelsea Flower Show

    Chelsea Flower Show poster (1927). Designed by Charles Shepherd ‘SHEP’ of Baynard Press.

    Courtesy of The Baynard Press / Charles Shepherd / RHS Lindley Collections

  • Chelsea Flower Show

    Preparing a model garden for the 1931 show.

    Courtesy of RHS Lindley Collections

  • Chelsea Flower Show

    Visitors walking over a bridge in a Japanese garden at the show in 1936.

    Courtesy of RHS Lindley Collections

  • Chelsea Flower Show

    Calceolaria ‘Dobbies Perfection’ in 1948.

    Courtesy of RHS Lindley Collections

  • Chelsea Flower Show

    Queen Elizabeth II at the 1961 show.

    Courtesy of Valerie Finnis / RHS Lindley Collections

  • Chelsea Flower Show 2017

    London Gate entrance to the 2017 show, designed by Simon Lycett.

    Courtesy of RHS/Georgi Mabee

  • Chelsea Flower Show 2017

    The Duchess of Cambridge at the 2017 RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

    Courtesy of RHS/Hannah McKay

  • Chelsea Flower Show 2018

    The Supershoes, Laced With Hope Garden, a partnership with Frosts. Designed by: Laura Anstiss for the 2018 flower show.

    Courtesy of RHS

  • Chelsea Flower Show 2018

    LG Eco-City Garden. Designed by: Hay-Joung Hwang for the 2018 show.

    Courtesy of RHS/Neil Hepworth

  • Chelsea Flower Show 2018

    Chef Jasmine Hemsley, wears Dolce & Gabbana’s new Snap Pea dress in The Seedlip Garden in2018.

    Courtesy of RHS/Suzanne Plunkett

  • Chelsea Flower Show 2018

    Designer, John Sallis Chandler poses with his Marks and Spencer: Floral Market exhibition at the 2018 show.

    Courtesy of RHS/Luke MacGregor

  • Chelsea Flower Show 2018

    Queen Elizabeth views the Peter Beales Roses exhibition in 2018.

    Courtesy of RHS/Luke MacGregor

  • Chelsea Flower Show 2019

    Waiters in red jackets serve champagne at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show Gala 2019.

    Courtesy of RHS/Georgi Mabee

  • Chelsea Flower Show 2019

    The James Doran Webb Driftwood Sculptor tradestand at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019.

    Courtesy of RHS/Georgi Mabee

  • Chelsea Flower Show 2019

    An acapella group perform in the “D-Day Revisited Garden” designed by John Everiss Design in 2019.

    Courtesy of RHS/Suzanne Plunkett

  • Chelsea Flower Show 2019

    Judi Dench is presented with an elm tree sapling on the Hillier Nurseries exhibition in 2019.

    Courtesy of RHS/Luke MacGregor

  • Chelsea Flower Show 2019

    ‘The Living Herbarium’ floral display by Gail Smith. Floristry in 2019.

    Courtesy of RHS/Georgi Mabee

  • Chelsea Flower Show 2019

    Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Cambridge are given a tour of the RHS Back to Nature Garden by the Duchess of Cambridge in 2019. The garden was designed by the Duchess herself and landscape architects Andree Davies and Adam White of Davies White Landscape Architects.

    Courtesy of RHS/Luke MacGregor

Featured image: Marcel Le Corgi® dog pictured at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019.

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