Smells like victory! This year’s show winners are The Morgan Stanley Garden for the NSPCC designed by Chris Beardshaw for Best Show Garden, Urban Flow Garden designed by Tony Woods for Best Space to Grow Garden, O-mo-te-na-shi no NIWA – The Hospitality Garden designed by Kazuyuki Ishihara for Best Artisan Garden and the Best Construction Award went to Welcome to Yorkshire, built by Landform Consultants. The other gold medal winning gardens show just how tight the competition was this year.
RHS Flower Show is on from 22-26 May, showcasing the power of plants. If you don’t arrive with a green thumb, you might just sprout one.
What’s On at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018
RHS Feel Good Garden
The Power of Plants
This year, the show celebrates gardens for their capacity to promote health and wellness through escape, enjoyment, relaxation and reconnection. To mark the 70th birthday of the NHS, the RHS Feel Good Garden is one garden among those designed to raise awareness of horticulture’s positive impact on mental health. After the show, the garden is being relocated to the Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust, providing a place where staff and patients can garden, relax and be close to nature.
Viking, the cruise line, brings its sixth garden to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show with a design byPaul Hervey-Brookes. Inspired by the great outdoors, The Viking Cruises Wellness Garden draws on Nordic landscape and celebrates the connection between nature and wellbeing. The garden explores three dimensions of wellness: eating well, living well, and the balance brought about by interacting with landscape and living in harmony with nature.
10 Show Gardens will fill Main Avenue with tradition and romance, as well as contemporary and urban themes. Be it a romanticised 18th century English tea garden to a timeless recreation of a Mediterranean landscape or a blueprint for city living in contemporary apartments to a garden inspired by the resilience and determination of those living in forced migration, a spectrum of colour and stories are covered. Notably for 2018, The David Harber and Savills Garden showcases how sculpture and planting promote reflection and narrative; In this garden, different layers represent mankind’s evolving relationship with the environment.
The Lemon Tree Trust Garden is debut designer Tom Massey’s first show garden, inspired by the ingenuity, resilience and determination of people in situations of forced migration. The refugees living in Domiz camp in Northern Iraq gave input on the garden’s design, which highlights the camp’s unexpected hidden beauty. The garden uses materials typically available in such camps, including concrete and steel, with shade screens inspired by traditional Islamic designs. An ‘innovation wall’ uses everyday objects such as tin cans and plastic bottles, an idea sourced directly from gardens in Domiz. The planting scheme features drought-tolerant plants grown in the region, including fig, lemon and pomegranate trees, plus other edibles and herbs used in Middle Eastern cooking. Channels of water from the central fountain both provide a peaceful, cooling atmosphere, while representing the importance of grey water reuse in the camps.
The Chelsea Late Event
A big change from previous years is the extension of opening times on the Friday of the show. The Chelsea Late Event, a vibrant evening with bands, an artisan food market and wandering artists will give guests a chance to enjoy the Artisan Gardens by twilight. Tickets are limited.
The Great Pavillion
A festival of all things floral at the heart of RHS Chelsea Flower Show. See more than 90 of the world’s best nurseries, growers and florists at this space big enough to park 500 London buses. Exhibitors will include D’Arcy & Everest, who are celebrating 25 years of exhibiting at the Show, along with Hampshire Carnivorous Plants, aiming for their 20th Gold in 20 years, and Peter Beales Roses who will mark their 50th anniversary with the launch of a new rose.
The National Association of Flower Arrangement Societies (NAFAS) will create an imaginative flower and foliage display depicting the four seasons. Also in the Great Pavilion, Floral Fundamentals’ UNITY exhibit will showcase the creative skills of Europe’s greatest floral designers in their representation of the stages of bulb production, from growth through to display.
Food & Drink
Dining options at the show range from three-course meals with fine wines to seafood platters or a quick snack and hot drink. The teatime option Jardin Blanc with Raymond Blanc, British produce focused The Rock Bank Restaurant, Champagne & Seafood Restaurant, The Drawing Room’s floral inspired champagne breakfast, The Chelsea Brunch and multiple cafes, food courts and picnic areas cover all mealtime bases.
When & Where: Tuesday – Friday, 22 – 25 May, 8am – 8pm. Saturday, 26 May, 8am – 5.30pm. Royal Hospital Road, Royal Hospital Chelsea, London, SW3 4SR.
What Else is Happening?
You can’t blame the rest of London for wanting to spring into bloom alongside the Chelsea Flower Show. Here’s how to get in the spirit of spring in other ways.
Anthophile brings together 10 artists, such as Carolina Mizrahi, Phoebe Cummings, Ann Carrington and Tracy Emin, who use botanical displays to create their own vanitas, re-examining still life’s associations with mortality, materialism and spirituality. Daniel Raphael Gallery, 26 Church St, Marylebone, London NW8 8EP; 15 – 31 May 2018.
Natural Selection, showing at Lyndsey Ingram Gallery, is the first UK exhibition of US artist Jane Hammond’s bold, vibrant and large-scale botanical collages. Hammond’s new multimedia collages of painting, photography, found objects and digital imagery offer a fresh take on the tradition of botanical prints and the history of flower painting. Lyndsey Ingram Gallery 120 Bourdon St, Mayfair, London W1K 3PL0; May – 15 June.
Town House at the Kensington will be inviting guests to a dining experience in collaboration with Ridgeview English Sparkling Wine. The evening will begin with canapés and Ridgeview’s Cavendish Brut in the K Bar, moving on to a dinner that showcases English sparkling wines alongside a seasonal menu. A starter of pan seared scallops served with roast cauliflower and Nastirtium, paired with Blanc de Blancs 2013 is only the the beginning…. 109-113 Queen’s Gate, London, SW7 5LP; 21 May from 6.30pm, £75 per person.
Horatio’s Garden Secret Art Sale is a spirited, innovative fundraiser sponsored by Rathbones. Horatio’s Garden is a national charity that creates and cares for award winning gardens in NHS spinal injury centres. This year, for the charity’s annual Chelsea Flower Show Drinks Party, names from the art world, celebrities and passionate amateurs have all agreed to submit an A5 or A6-sized piece of artwork, signed on the back, which will be on display at the drinks party for guests to view. So far, Horatio’s Garden has received artworks from celebrities including Mary Berry, former VOGUE editor Alexandra Shulman, Johnny Depp, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Sir Roy Strong and Tim Burton. Artists from a wide range of backgrounds have also submitted pieces. Familiar names such as Tom Hammick, Matthew Rice and Nicholas Hely-Hutchinson feature alongside up and coming artists, too. All artworks can be bought for just £50.00 on a first come, first serve basis- but the artist of the work is revealed only after the sale! National Army Museum, Royal Hospital Road, London, SW3 4HT; 24 May, 7pm-9pm. £50 tickets per person.
The Chelsea Fringe, like the Flower Show, focuses on the role of gardens and plants in wellbeing and health. These include a celebration of the work of 17th-century apothecary John Parkinson at the gardens of the British Medical Association (Bloomsbury, London); an exhibition of botanical paintings of plants that promote good cardiac health (The Chelsea Courtyard, London); a workshop with medical herbalist Alex Laird and top chef Arthur Potts Dawson to explore how foods and herbs work therapeutically in us, and a talk and workshop on fermentation and its role in a healthy gut (both at Omved Gardens, Haringey, London). Food and drink feature prominently, with edible growing, vegetables, herbs and botanicals strongly in evidence. A herb-boat moored in Hackney will host an exploration of the history of bitters and botanicals and their use in cocktails; you are invited to ‘grow a pizza’ at Lauriston School; Chiswick House’s renowned kitchen garden is hosting open days; or you can learn the art of salad making at the Jetty in Greenwich. Find more art, trees, exhibits and installations at chelseafringe.com.
Frida’s Belgravia in Bloom is Howe at 36 Bourne Street’s contribution to Belgravia in Bloom: a weeklong event in the spirit of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Local businesses unite on a theme, transforming their shops with floral displays. 36 Bourne Street will salute the much-anticipated Frida Kahlo exhibition at the V&A, celebrating the artist’s life and her work. The event is a joyful extension to the collaboration between Howe at 36 Bourne Street and Lora Avedian. Shop front and window displays at 36 Bourne Street will celebrate Mexico’s culture with display’s of Lora’s original craft pieces amongst colourful textiles, fresh blooms and greenery. 19-26 May, 36 Bourne St, Belgravia, London
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