RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2024 - Part One

RHS Chelsea Flower RHS Chelsea Flower is one of my favourite events of the year.  I look forward to it every year and every year it is sufficiently different to keep me wondering what the next year will be like.  This year did not disappoint.

As ever there was much to see and I shall give you some of the highlights from my visit.  On the day I was there the sun shone and it was a glorious day.  This was lucky with the year we have had so far for weather.
Look at that for a fabulous blue sky!  Look also at this incredible driftwood dragon, I think he stole the show.
My favourite show garden was the Terrance Higgins Trust Bridge to 2030 Garden designed by Matthew Childs.  This is a garden focussing on the future for the treatment and for people living with HIV.  The garden is inspired by how nature is reclaiming the redundant slate mines in North Wales.
This huge stepping-stone/bridge represents the 1980s warning advertisements on TV; which I remember how frightening they were and also how we had never seen advertisements like it before.  Now the 'gravestone' is a way to get from one place to another, it is replacing fear with progress.
and the planting is stunning.  The garden won a Silver Gilt medal and also the Best Construction Award, but for me it was number one: for its thought provoking and skilful design and the importance of what it stands for.

Gardens with a message were a strong theme for the show.  Many were representing campaigns/charities and there seemer fewer that were representing large corporate businesses.  This is an interesting development for whilst these gardens can cost an eye-watering amount of money to creat the opportunity to get the message across a world-wide stage is more than most marketing budgets can dream of.  This is why the gardens matter and if they are going to promoting a charity/social enterprise then I am all for this.  
This is the Bowel Research UK Microbiome Garden designed by Chris Hull and Sid Hill.  A gold medal winner and a very important cause.  This garden is all about the health of our soils and ecosystems and ultimately the food that we eat.  This garden was beautifully planted and in particular the bee skeps caught my eye.  I do love a skep.
This is the Flood re: Flood Resisitant Garden designed by Naomi Slade and Dr Ed Barsley.  As I am writing this it has been raining solidly for many hours; we have had more rain this Winter and Spring than I think I can ever remember; for those who live in flood areas the changes to our climate makes this an ever-growing challenge.  This garden is demonstrates how to use dense planting to help reduce flood flow and how to create raised areas and drainage to alleviate the impact.  This garden was awarded a silver medal.
The Freedom from Torture Garden , designed by John Warland and Emma O'Connell was awarded a silver medal too.  I love the willow forms and how they create a feeling of peace and sanctuary.  This garden will be relocated at the Freedom from Torture HQ in London after the show is finished.
The World Child Cancer's Nurturing Garden won a gold medal and the RHS Environmental Innovation Award.  It was designed by Giulo Giogi and it is a fantastic garden.  The colour palette makes it really stand out. It is a sensory garden and designed to bring joy and hope to the children having treatment for cancer.  I really liked this garden.
This is the Burma Skincare Initiative Spirit of Partnership Garden designed by Helen Olney.  This garden is about the Burmese healthcare workers who are treating serious skin conditions.  The garden has different zones as a reflection of the diversity of the people of Burma (Myanmar) and the different planting environments in the country.
The Size of Wales Garden, designed by Dan Bristow is about how 'the size of Wales' is used as a reference for the rate of rainforest destruction.  The charity 'The Size of Wales' works across the world with indigenous and local people plant trees to help restore these areas.  It is a garden that makes you look up at the trees and down to the mainly yellow flowers: yellow is the colour of hope.  This garden was awarded a gold medal and the 'Best All About Plants' award - and rightly so.

Some gardens are commercially based:
The Newt in Somerset sponsors this year's show and this is their Roman Courtyard complete with added Roman.  I don't think this garden was in the medal competition - I am happy to be corrected.
and this is the Moroto no IE garden designed by Kazuyuki Ishihara, who always creates fabulous gardens at this show and won a silver gilt medal.

There are also some tremendous trade stands such as the Blue Forest The Treehouse People and Randle Siddeley Ltd's tree house.
photo c/o NIR PR
I was very brave and managed to cross the rope bridge, which was totally stable but that doesn't stop me wobbling!
The interior was designed by Lucinda Sanford and the tree house won best Trade Show Stand. I was glad I took the time to see this.

The Floral Marquee is always one of my favourite places at the show.
There are fabulous displays created by the nurseries and exhibitors.
It was a joy to see more overseas exhibitors again, these have felt fewer since the pandemic.
I always spend too long in front of the South African planting.  I aspire but the Leicester climate creates challenges.
The man in the bed looked so peaceful on this stand.
and I loved loved loved this owl.

There was so much to see: more gardens, more features, too much for one blog post so this is part one.  Part two will follow shortly.

Until then...

Take care and be kind.

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