New plants at the Chelsea Flower Show
Rain, wind and new plants

Chelsea Flower Show – first day on the site

Orchids from Burnham Nurseries. Image © It’s Saturday and I’m finally down here at the Chelsea Flower Show, the most famous flower show in the world – the show opens Tuesday. Six hundred exhibitors, including 109 staging floral exhibits in the 12,000 square metre/three acre Great Pavilion, put it all together in just three weeks and it takes 800 people to make it happen. There are just thirteen outdoor show gardens, which can be up to 10mx22m/33x72ft in size. They’ve been known to cost more than £250,000 to create – for five days of public viewing – and the recession has reduced the number this year. But at first sight some look very impressive.

As I arrived at the show today to continue my coverage of Chelsea’s new plants that I began on 1 May on my Royal Horticultural Society New Plants blog, some exhibits were complete while most were in various stages of completion; there was some frantic activity on one or two of the show gardens while a few exhibitors in the Floral Pavilion had not even started.

Burnham Nurseries exhibit (finished) and Devine Nurseries exhibit. Image ©GardenPhotos.comBurnham Nurseries orchid exhibit (Grand Pavilion, D24) had finished and the pristine stand stood out vividly from the chaos around about. Next door, Devine Nurseries (Grand Pavilion, D23) had not yet arrived with their alliums. There’s confidence for you.

Also complete was a stand from Roger Platts Garden Design and Nurseries (Grand Pavilion, D20). Having built many show gardens outside, he knows the value of getting finished in good time. One feature I especially admired on his display entitled A Plantsman's Palette was a Banksian rose, Rosa banksiae ‘Lutea’ climbing through a Japanese maple. You’d need a more substantial maple in a real garden, but it looked wonderful.Rosa banksiae 'Lutea'. Image ©

I only flew in yesterday from Pennsylvania so I’m feeling a bit knackered, as they say over here. Time for a supper of good old British fish and chips -  and more tomorrow (reports, that is – not fish and chips).

You can check my new plants coverage over on my RHS New Plants blog.


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I'll look out for you on Monday, Graham. In the meantime, hope you get to grab a few zzzzzs!


I do love seeing these snippets from the show. I can't wait to see it for real on Tuesday!

Graham Rice

More new plants have gone up over on the New Plants blog... I've lost count of how many there are so far!

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