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Article by Caroline Knight | 20th May 2019

RHS Chelsea Flower Show - An Inspiration

May means something special in terms of gardens, gardening and design – it’s the month that welcomes RHS Chelsea Flower Show into the hearts and minds of so many people.

Even if you aren’t lucky enough to make the trip to London’s Royal Hospital, Chelsea between 21st-25th May for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, it will, for sure, be appearing on a screen near you. But why are we so enchanted by the tiny patch of perfection that appears here every spring?

It seems that this is the annual event that generally kick-starts most people into thinking about their outdoor spaces – and we are inspired by all that happens at RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Most of us realise that we can’t hope to emulate everything at the show and, let’s face it, some of those spaces aren’t meant to represent the family’s most practical garden, but it’s there for us to absorb ideas, gain inspiration and feel the love for all things growing and outdoorsy.

What can we expect this year?

Children feature at the top of the tree within the Space to Grow Garden, which celebrates 100 years since Maria Montessori first brought her pioneering teaching methods to the UK. Her child-centric approach to education focuses on the Montessori belief in the importance of access to the outdoors for all young children and the garden addresses the fact that children in Britain are spending less time outdoors in this digital age. It includes an edible wall, teaching platform, raised dipping pond and water play station. Who could possibly resist?

Also focusing on children is the RHS Back to Nature Garden, which has been co-designed by the Duchess of Cambridge. It features a beautifully-crafted hollow log for children to climb through, a den, waterfall, stream and tree house.

Kent and Sussex exhibitors are well-represented, including The Salutation Garden and Nursery near Sandwich, Cayeux Iris from Cranbrook, Lime Cross Nursery from Herstmonceux, Studio Forge from Lewes and many more.

But it’s the show gardens that tend to draw most crowds and this year’s audience won’t be disappointed. Andy Sturgeon’s design team, based in Brighton, are behind the theme for this year’s M&G Garden, which celebrates the beauty of nature’s extraordinary power to regenerate and colonise all kinds of landscapes with new growth. It features many unusual plants making their first appearance at Chelsea, some of which are sourced from around the world but all of which are able to grow and thrive in the British climate.

Gardening Will Save The World, from IKEA and Tom Dixon, explores how urban growing can make a positive impact on so many levels. It encompasses democratic design principles to develop sustainable food growth and consumption. The structure is elevated, which allows visitors to physically engage with the installation by climbing to the top to enjoy it from multiple aspects.

The Dubai Majlis Garden by Thomas Hoblyn is inspired by the sculptural beauty found in arid landscapes, with a pavilion that takes its theme from sand dunes. And also celebrating 100 years is the Forestry Commission, with its design called The Resilience Garden, by Sarah Eberle, which while marking the centenary also looks ahead to the biggest challenges facing forests of the future.

• Visit rhs.org.uk

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