Chelsea Flower Show 2020

Update – May: The 2020 show will now be ‘virtual’

Update: The show has now been cancelled due to coronavirus. This is the first time the RHS Chelsea Flower Show has been cancelled since the Second World War.

Sue Biggs, RHS Director General, says: “In these unprecedented challenging times we have carefully followed Government advice and made difficult, responsible decisions with the health and safety of people at the foremost of our minds.

“Our RHS Shows are vitally important platforms for the horticultural industry, and we are especially aware of the impact of cancelling these events on everyone involved. We will be doing all we can to help growers and nurseries to sell the plants they will have grown for the cancelled Shows.

This year there’s a focus on environment and sustainability at the show.

Show Gardens

Hampshire nursery Hortus Loci are growing for some amazing show gardens by Tom Massey, Matt Keightley and Robert Myers.

Tom Massey – The Yeo Valley Organic Garden

The Yeo Valley Organic Garden provides a countryside experience with a diverse range of habitats designed to encourage wildlife and support pollinators. It takes inspiration from Yeo Valley’s dairy farms, providing a number of wildlife-friendly habitats with a rich and diverse tapestry of flowering plants.

On a gentle hill, a stream leads to an area of pasture that is rich with Trifolium (clover). It links the garden areas and provides the calming sound of water. The stream starts in the woodland flowing from a simple steel trough reflecting pool reminiscent of a cattle trough. Below, a wildlife lake with aquatic and marginal planting provides a wetland habitat, perfect for toads, frogs, dragonflies and damselflies.

An egg-shaped, steam-bent wooden nature hide provides a place to sit and observe the wetland environment. Curved drystone walls divide the site into distinct habitat zones. The boundary walls are drystone topped with mixed native hedging plants, representing the importance and diversity of British hedgerows.

Planting/Colour Scheme

The garden has been created with sustainability front and centre. Where possible the plants for the garden will be grown organically – this means no chemical pesticides or fertilisers will be used and the compost the plants are grown in will be peat free and organically certified.

The planting is a direct reflection of the plants used in the Yeo Valley Organic Garden.

Matt Keightley – the Beyond Rank or Status garden

The Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) was formed in 1898, and has served the nation during two world wars as well as through recent conflicts where it has provided a level of care for the wounded unsurpassed in the history of medicine. The RAMC Garden tells of the Corp’s unique and compelling history; a homage to the courageous servicemen and women who have cared for the wounded, beyond rank or status.

Designed to be a serene and calming space for reflection and rehabilitation, a series of impressive Carpinus ‘boxheads’ flank the perimeter of a peaceful courtyard, framing vistas into and through the garden. Effortless hardscape transitions and level changes subtly guide the eye helping visitors to imagine meandering through the garden.

The gentle sound of moving water adds a calming ambiance, enhancing the effect of the texture-filled and elegant planting palette. Herbs and other medicinal plants feature strongly in this garden.

Planting/Colour Scheme

A largely medicinal based planting palette with a number of herbs and plants used for all kinds of remedies. Eleven large 2.5-metre-high Carpinus betulus box heads are being used to emulate arches or columns seen in cloister gardens.

Robert Myers – The Florence Nightingale Garden – A Celebration of Modern Day Nursing

An imagined courtyard garden for a new hospital, celebrating Florence Nightingale in the 200th anniversary year of her birth, and the nursing profession in the 21st century.

The theme of the garden is ‘nurture through nature’ inspired by the idea that the shortest road to recovery leads through a garden.Designed as a restorative space, it is enclosed on three sides by a sculptural timber pergola, which provides a space from which to view the garden as well as to sit in and stroll through it.

The garden evokes key elements of Florence Nightingale’s life: pale concrete and timber represent the materials that she endorsed for hospital construction; a reflecting pool references her insights into drainage and cleanliness; and the plants in the garden include some found in her own pressed flower collection as well as plants with strong medicinal properties which were used in the 19th century and are still used in medicine today. In addition, her story is referenced in art seen throughout the garden.

Planting/Colour Scheme

Most of the plants in the garden were typical in the 19th century with strong medicinal properties, or have been inspired by Florence Nightingale’s personal pressed flower collection.

A calming, pastel palette of green and yellow interspersed with blues, lilacs and pinks will draw the eye through the garden, resting momentarily on large dark green pillows of Taxus baccata. Digitalis lutea, known to be a favourite of Florence Nightingale will also feature in the garden.

Urban Gardens

Sarah Eberle is designing the Psalm 23 garden which is in the Urban Garden section.

Psalm 23 has been part of our culture for 1500 years and is the inspiration for great music and art. At Chelsea 2020 it’s being brought to life as a garden and will launch a nationwide campaign to bring communities, schools and churches together to create communal garden spaces.

The psalm, which speaks about the journey of life, through dark valleys and by quiet waters, has a strong resonance with contemporary life and its stresses. The garden represents a spiritual oasis within an urban framework. Inspired by the landscape of Dartmoor. It’s a ‘found’ place in which to escape, to re-engage with nature and strengthen mental health and wellbeing.

Planting/Colour Scheme

The garden will feature two statement trees that exhibit a form chiselled by their environment, surviving happily but with a character forged by challenge. Key planting will include Crataegus monogyna, Carpinus betulus, Vaccinium myrtillus, Drosera intermedia and Eriophorum angustifolium.

Many plants will have been grown from seed for the garden as there will be a selection of unusual and rare native plants.

The Great Pavilion

Sparsholt College has teamed up with Gilbert White & The Oates Collections to create Sparsholt’s 2020 RHS Chelsea garden entry ‘The Natural Kalendar’, sponsored by seed and plant specialist Thompson & Morgan.

After almost three decades and an incredible 24 RHS Gold Medals, Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants will create their largest and most stunning display at RHS Chelsea Flower Show this year

Great Pavilion stands:

Hampshire Carnivorous Plants, Southampton
Site No: GPF214
Carnivorous plants

Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants, Whitchurch
Site No: GPD181
Herbaceous perennials

Hillier Nurseries Ltd, Romsey
Site No: GPE213

The Real Flower Company, Alresford
Site No: GPC179
Scented garden and flower workshop