New trends and old favourites as RHS Chelsea Flower Show returns to May

Company: RHS

RHS Chelsea Flower Show, sponsored by The Newt in Somerset, makes a triumphant return to spring, packed full of seasonal favourites with a star-studded gardening line-up.

Taking place from 24-28 May at Royal Hospital Chelsea, after an historic autumn show last September, RHS Chelsea will be brimming with horticultural ideas as the gardening season kicks off.

RHS Chelsea veterans and new names are amongst the line-up who are creating 39 gardens this year. John Everiss, Chris Beardshaw, and Sarah Eberle, one of the most decorated designers in RHS history, return with thought provoking designs.

Of the 44 designers at the show, 24 are making their RHS Chelsea debut - from emerging talent such as London community gardener Tayshan Hayden-Smith and recent graduate Bea Tann, to established designers Richard Miers and Lulu Urquhart and Adam Hunt.

Spring and early summer favourites such as lupins, irises and hostas feature together with plants from the emerging trend for more naturalistic planting. Expect to see hawthorn, buttercups, and achillea as meadow and wild planting takes a turn in the spotlight.

Top 5 RHS Chelsea 2022 Themes

Planet Friendly Gardening

With the urgent need for everyone to help combat climate change, planet friendly gardening is more important than ever, with exhibits and displays across the show promoting how sustainable practices that can benefit the planet are easy to achieve at home.

For biodiversity, the ‘BBC Studios Our Green Planet and RHS Bee Garden’ provides plenty of inspiration for nectar and pollen rich plants and a 15 tonne ice cube will sit in the centre of ‘The Plantsman’s Ice Garden’ as a visual reminder of the dangers of global warming on natural resources. For those tackling impoverished soil, the ‘Brewin Dolphin Garden’ highlights plants that can improve soil quality including raspberry, anthriscus, and angelica, whilst in the Discovery Zone, OmVed Gardens will highlight how seed saving can protect seed diversity. 

Health and Wellbeing

The healing and restorative power of gardens and plants is celebrated across the show, particularly in relation to mental health. ‘The Mothers for Mothers Garden’ represents the journey many new mothers face when navigating parenthood and the challenges that come with it. Sparsholt College’s ‘Home from Home’ is a garden for the charity Maggie’s in Southampton, a place for people with cancer to visit for advice and support. The ‘SSAFA Garden sponsored by CCLA offers respite for those staying at Norton House, run by the Armed Forces charity to offer families of service personnel being treated at the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre.

Inspiration for Unconventional Gardens

Gardens of all shapes, sizes and locations will offer inspirational ideas for unconventional green spaces. Following their popularity last year, Balcony and Container Gardens demonstrate that any space, no matter how small can be turned into a garden paradise. For indoor plant havens, Houseplant Studios provide plenty of creative advice, and in the Great Pavilion, ideas abound for rare and unusual terrarium displays from Aroid Studios and first-time exhibitors, Moore & Moore Plants demonstrate how shady spots can still be abundant  with their expertise in woodland plants.

Gardens for Good Causes

25 gardens will live on in their entirety after the show and remainder of the gardens will distribute their plants and flowers to numerous benefactors. Charities and community spaces across the country including Alder Hey children’s hospital in Liverpool; schools in London will receive the ‘BBC Studios Our Green Planet and RHS Bee Garden’ and the ‘Place2Be Securing Tomorrow Garden’; the New Blue Peter garden will go to RHS Bridgewater in Manchester and ‘The Stitchers’ Garden’ is being adapted for a prison in Suffolk.

Several gardens have connections to social change for good - Grow2Know’s ‘Hands Off Mangrove’ draws on the story of the Mangrove Nine group who fought for racial justice in their local community and ‘The Body Shop Regeneration Garden’ takes a conceptual approach to tell the story of environmental and societal regeneration inspired by change-makers and activists.

The Best of British Growers

The Great Pavilion, the jewel in the crown of RHS Chelsea, is packed with over 80 exhibits across nearly 3 acres and will include the launch of 27 new plant varieties. Featuring renowned UK-wide growers, such as David Austin Roses with their Jubilee themed display, together with first-time exhibitors such as Kitchen Garden Plant Centre and Baugaarden Living Art, each bringing their own unique horticultural expertise and skills to the show.

Limited tickets to RHS Chelsea Flower Show are currently available:   www.rhs.org.uk/chelsea

BBC television coverage of RHS Chelsea Flower Show begins on Sunday 22 May and will broadcast across the week.

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