Although the UK has a number of flower shows, gardening exhibitions, county shows, and national gardens open to the public, one of the most famous has to be the Chelsea Flower Show.
The 19th May sees the start of this year’s Chelsea Flower Show, one of the most famous horticultural shows in the world. By the end of the five days of the show being open, almost 200,000 visitors with an interest in all aspects of horticulture will have passed through the turnstiles.
Although the Royal Horticultural Society’s Great Spring Show had it first airing in 1862, over the years it was held in various venues with different name changes. In 1913 it became the Chelsea Flower Show and has remained at its current site at the Royal Chelsea Hospital ever since.
The exhibitors have 33 days in which to built and plant their gardens from scratch. If you have seen television footage or photographs of the finished exhibits, you’ll appreciate the hours and hard work involved in getting these gardens ready to be visited by the public in such a short space of time.
At this year’s show there will be some 32 full gardens to be viewed, along with new varieties of plants and shrubs. Exhibition stands, including flower arranging, new plants, gardening products, accessories, and pretty much everything to do with horticulture will be available to browse and buy.
The Royal Horticultural Society:
It is Napoleon Bonaparte who is attributed with saying, ‘the English are a nation of shopkeepers,’ although it was actually a Scotsman who originally made the quote. Perhaps calling us a nation of gardeners may have been a better description.
The Royal Horticultural Society was founded in 1804. Then called the Horticultural Society of London, it was granted Royal status in 1861. Now the largest gardening charity organisation in the world, its stated principle is: ‘The encouragement and improvement of the science, art and practise of horticulture in all its branches.’ The RHS promotes this principle with garden shows in Cardiff Wales, the Tatton Park Flower Show, the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, and the most famous of them all the Chelsea Flower Show.
The RHS’s original home, when still called the Horticultural Society of London, was in Chiswick London, but in 1903, a 60 acre site in Wisley Surrey, was presented in trust to the RHS. The site today is still the home of the RHS and attracts thousands of visitors annually through its gates.
True to its founding principles, the RHS has a scientific lab for the study of plants and vegetables, and a School of Horticulture, to teach young people about the principles of gardening. Covering a large range of garden, and garden management subjects, many of today’s professional gardeners and landscapers started their careers in the Royal Horticultural Society classrooms of Wisley.
Although it is now too late to purchase tickets for the Chelsea Flower Show, if you have an interest in gardening, catching the BBC’s television coverage of the show will be well worth the effort.
Images care of:-
By Sophie Housley (Sophie Housley) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Richard Wiseman [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By muffinn (https://www.flickr.com/photos/mwf2005/14098177757/) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Steve F [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
A British expat who has lived on this Island of Tenerife for over twelve years.A full time freelance writer, most of my time is spent article writing. I also write on D2C, Writedge, and wherever takes my fancy. For fun I try to increase my portfolio of short stories, with a view to eventually getting them published.