Highlights from RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2022

By Alex N

From the moment you step through the RHS Chelsea Flower Show gates you’re transported into a gardener’s paradise.

Every year there are key themes for the garden designers and this year’s main themes are mental health and the role of gardening and horticulture and reconnecting with nature, alongside environmental and re-wilding themes.

Show Gardens

The Chelsea Show Gardens showcase the best of garden design and challenge us to think about how we use plants.

A highlight for us this year was our tutor Chris Beardshaw’s gold medal winning The RNLI Garden – featuring a green oak pavilion and a statement tree growing round a huge rock carved on site.

The New Blue Peter Garden put the emphasis in the garden back on the importance of soil, and "The Perennial Garden ‘With Love’" bought the romance into gardening with a water feature leading through white and plum planting to a fluorescent sign with a quote from Tennyson “If I had a flower for every time I thought of you”.

The RHS Garden was designed by Joe Swift in association with the BBC, and is laid out in the shape of a bee’s wings. The garden includes pollinator friendly plants – so was buzzing with life. Follow #ourgreenplanet on social media for tips and advice on making your garden more bee friendly.

"A Rewilding Britain Landscape" was the Gold Medal winning garden, which looks at the impact of re-introducing the beaver and includes a wetland, beaver dam and dry upland planting.

Sanctuary Gardens & Balcony and Container Gardens

The smaller Sanctuary Gardens are gardens designed to reflect on the power of plants to nurture and heal.

Calming influences this year include the "Connected, by Exante" built around a huge hollow oak tree stump (and heading off after Chelsea to the University College London Hospital); while "Out of the Shadows" created a relaxing space for a contemporary spa garden.

The "Plantman’s Ice Garden" is created around a huge block of ice – designed to melt throughout the Chelsea week and reveal more planting inside; highlighting climate issues.

The smaller container gardens always offer garden ideas that are accessible to all – no matter what your gardening experience, the size of your space or where you’re gardening.

It was great to see Jason Williams’ "The Cirrus Garden" at ground level – packed with edible plants, perennials, a seating area and even a fish pond – all inspired by his 18th floor balcony garden.

Reflecting the flexibility and diversity of container gardens "The Still Garden" was inspired by the Scottish Highlands and Islands, "A Mediterranean Reflection" showcased Mediterranean plants and planting styles, and "The Enchanted Rain Garden" was inspired by a rainy garden in Manchester.

The Pavilion Floral Displays & All About Plants

Inside the Pavilion a new garden category “All About Plants” focused on demonstrating the positive power of plants in your home and garden.

"A Textile Garden for the Fashion Revolution" looked at the role plants play in our textiles – from material to colour dyes. "The Mothers for Mothers Garden ‘This too shall pass’" was designed to reflect the challenges and joys of motherhood.

The Floral Gallery featured sustainable floral creations based around the themes of Forest and Flora and Tablescapes.

Stephen McDonnell’s colourful dining table was inspired by a trip to Costa Rica, and was designed to make you consider the impact of the food you eat.

The Floral Windows presented floral displays based on the themes of Pollination and Field and Flora, Jane Belcher’s "The Taste of Nature" highlighted the decline of honeybees featuring pollinating plants from seed to flower in a honeycomb shaped frame. While "Eat Healthily, Think Deeply and Act Wisely" was made entirely of edible plants as an ikebana display.

The Pavilion is also home to perfectly created plant displays by world-famous nurseries. We loved the forest of foxgloves, Hardy Plants from Yorkshire created a stunning display around their vintage Morris Minor van and David Austin Roses created a perfectly formed rose garden in the centre of the Pavilion.

As it’s Platinum Jubilee year the Queen was celebrated with a design by florist Simon Lycett featuring hundreds of potted lily of the valley in a silhouette of the Queen’s head.

And the winners...

There’s so much to see at RHS Chelsea, and congratulations to all the RHS Chelsea garden designers, floral designers and builders – it’s been another year packed full of garden inspiration.

Follow us on instagram for more pictures and highlights from RHS Chelsea Flower Show @learningwithexperts

But this year the real winners have to be the bees (and let’s all help them to win in our own gardens too).

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Alex N

I'm passionate about online learning, and lucky enough to work for Learning with Experts. Most recent course: The Pie Shop with River Cottage's Tom Morrell. Next course: Container Gardening with Chris Beardshaw.

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