Our top blooming marvellous facts about RHS Chelsea Flower Show
Every year RHS Chelsea Flower Show offers guests the chance to explore visionary gardens and cutting edge design. This highlight of the summer calendar takes place annually across five days in May and epitomises all that’s beautiful about British springtime. Here’s our favourite, lesser known facts about this iconic flower show to impress your clients and guests with.
- The RHS Chelsea Flower Show has been held since 1804. Originally called ‘The Great Spring Show’ it was moved to its current home, the Royal Hospital Chelsea, in 1931.
- The first RHS Chelsea Flower Show was staged in a large tent with a total of 244 exhibitors. Today the event spans 23 acres with 500 exhibitors and gardens. This includes show gardens, artisan gardens and fresh gardens. There are also over 100 exhibitions in the Great Pavilion and around 270 stands.
- In 1979 the show became so crowded that turnstiles had to be introduced. Attendance remains capped and the show receives 165,000 visitors each year.
- Whilst it’s seen as the most prestigious flower show in Britain, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show isn’t the largest – that honour is bestowed upon the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show.
- It’s the ‘World Cup of gardening’. Preparing for the show can be stressful for the army of gardeners. Hortus Loci nursery’s show plant manager, Jamie Butterworth said of the process, “You can work for as long as you can, as hard as you can, then you go to the pub afterwards. It’s the World Cup of gardening”.
- Each year the judging is carried out democratically and 45 minutes is spent on each garden. There is debate and chat amongst the panel that pride themselves on this process.
- In 2000 a new pavilion replaced the largest canvas marquee and it was cut up and used to make 7,000 bags, aprons and jackets.
- Gnomes are a no no. They were officially banned from the flower show until 2013 when a display of 150 gnomes was gathered to greet the Queen. These characters had been painted and styled by a number of celebrities including Sir Elton John, Marry Berry and Joanna Lumley. The ban has been brought back into force, but garden designers are known to try and sneak them in undetected every year.
- Guests prefer Champagne over Pimms. In 2015, staff served: 7,720 glasses of Pimms, 28,477 cakes, pastries and cookies; 10,823 flutes of Champagne and 64,144 hot beverages.
- There were some famous new plants launched in 2016 which included the ‘Merry Berry’ rose by Harkness, Deliflor’s ‘Princess Charlotte’ chrysanthemum and David Austin Roses’ peach-coloured ‘Roald Dahl’ rose.
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