• Georgie C

What I learnt Behind the Scenes at Chelsea Flower Show.

Updated: May 5, 2019

I'm currently seeing lots of tweets about the build and set-up for RHS Chelsea Flower Show on 22-26th May and they reminded me that two years ago (2016), I was behind the scenes at Chelsea with my camera.

Seeing the gardens being built gave a really interesting perspective. The whole show is about the finished, final polished gardens so watching hundreds of people in hi-vis vests constructing an array of extremely varied gardens and displays was both fascinating and slightly surreal. I'd absolutely love to go again and document the show before, during and after. Read on to find out why!

What I learnt Behind the scenes at Chelsea Flower Show:

Meningitis Now Garden by John Everiss

1. It takes hundreds of people (800+) and just over a month to construct and create the flower show! They're out working very hard, no matter what the weather is!

Rose display in the Great Pavillion

2. There are thousands of plants of all varieties - many of which have been grown and maintained especially for Chelsea. The garden designers need the plants to be looking at their absolute best for the show which being as the plants are living organisms and takes an immense amount of care and control. It's not unusual to see one person spending a considerable amount of time pruning tiny bits of hundreds of plants. Which brings me to...

Kazuyuki Ishihara's Senri-Sentei Garage Garden

3. Did you know that it's possible to *pin* moss mounds onto rocks? I saw it with my very own eyes at Kazuyuki Ishihara's spectacular Senri-Sentei Garage Garden.

4. Sometimes there are traffic jams during the Chelsea build because of the sheer amount of lorries and other vehicles delivering trollies of plants, trees and garden sculptures.

Rosy Harding's Freefolk Garden

5. We humans are both genius and crazy. I guess I've always known this. But when you see the amount of energy, time and resources that go into creating something to be viewed and enjoyed for just 5 days, it really hits home.  

Setting up the Orchid display in the Grand Pavillion

6. Even during the hecticness of the build, Chelsea is beautiful and inspiring. You will undoubtedly leave with colour schemes or a list of plants that you want to try in your own garden (top of my list was Angelica as see in Jekka's Modern Apothecary garden & other places).

Jekka's Modern Apothecary for St John's Hospice. (A personal favourite!)

Lupines in the Grand Pavillion

Incredible Orchid's

Chris Beardshaw's Morgan Stanley Garden

Working and Waiting

Acer delivery

Beautiful cottage garden style planting

Dogs and cherubs

Detail from Cleve West's M&G Garden (spot the workers)

Do let me know in the comments or via Twitter or Instagram if you're going to RHS Chelsea Flower 2018 - I'd love to see some of your photos. And best of luck to all of the garden designers and gardeners this year.

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