RHS Chelsea Trends and Highlights for 2017

02 June 2017

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show, arguably the world’s most famous gardening event, has just closed its doors for 2017.  Attracting around 165,000 visitors each year including the Royal Family and many high-profile celebrities, the occasion brings together the supreme talents some of the country’s best florists, garden designers and growers.

It never fails to disappoint or inspire and this year was no exception.  From striking sculptures and gravity-defying installations to walking trees and giant bears, it was a feast for the senses.

Appropriate then that the BBC Radio 2 Feel Good Gardens launched this year, aiming to show how plants can enrich and indulge one of the five senses – touch, taste, smell, sight and sound.  Named after different BBC Radio 2 presenters, we think our favourites had to be The Chris Evans Taste Garden, designed with the help of Mary Berry and featuring some very delicious planting, and The Jeremey Vine Texture Garden that highlighted current trends for geometric shapes, metallic textures and delicate planting – who knew he had such a soft side?

RHS Chelsea also became a focal point of the British Florist Association’s centenary celebrations. Installed in the ever-impressive Grand Pavilion, their display used over 6000 fresh flowers and foliage in a bold and zingy palette of hot pink, orange, lime green and bright yellow to spell out the number 100.  It also became a magnet for celebrity poses – take a look!

For the green fingered among you, here are the top 5 key trends we saw emerging for garden design:

  • Water

Whether a shallow pond, rippling pool or gentle waterfall, the use of this soothing element was as popular as it’s always been.

  • Lupins

These bright, attractive flowers were seen pretty much everywhere. Reaching 1 to 4 feet in height, they are perfect for adding colour and texture to the back of a flower bed.

  • Copper

From piping to sculptures, copper was the metal of choice, adding a rich tone to lush seas of green.

  • Paving

In angular and irregular forms, paving was used to great effect in many of the gardens, giving a free-flow effect

  • Textured walls

Whether textured alcoves, exposed brick or a cliff made from 11 tonnes of chalkstone, as featured in Tracy Foster’s ‘Welcome to Yorkshire’ garden, masonry made a significant appearance.

For those of you, like me, watch with awe for the ooos and ahhhs moments, here are our highlights and best bits.

  • Houseplants in rooms

Ian Drummond teamed up with IKEA to dress three walk-through rooms with houseplants to demonstrate their versatility, beauty and drama.  Taking a bathroom, bedroom and living room, the exhibit also focussed on the health benefits and important role houseplants take in our wellbeing.  We think the collaboration was an enormous success.

  • Animal giants

We loved Easigrass’ display of giant grass animals featuring bears, baby elephants and even a giraffe.  Wild animals seemed to be a popular theme throughout the show, but we think these guys were the most impressive and spectacular.

  • Chelsea in Bloom & Belgravia in Bloom

Continuing with wild animals, Chelsea in Bloom’s floral safari was truly spectacular. A free event to celebrate the arrival of the show, it brought a life-size floral elephant, crocodiles and hippo to Sloane Square.

We were also wowed by the many retail outlets and residences that got on board with Belgravia in Blooms showcase too, dressing their shop windows and front doors with some stunning floral displays.

  • Living trousers

You’ve seen the living wall, well now there’s the living trouser!  These fantastic entertainers provided many a photo opportunity along with walking trees, all in stilts and all proving RHS Chelsea can continue to surprise and delight.

  • Our winners

We couldn’t not talk about the phenomenal achievements of fellow florists Victoria Clemson and Mark Entwistle, who often help out at The Flower Lounge and who stole the show for us in Chelsea this year.  Mark was part of the Interflora team who succeeded in winning Gold for their ‘Stories of Emotion’, while Vicky was crowned ‘Florist of the Year’ for her spectacular designs – see them here.  Well done to both of them.

We may not get many requests for giant grass bears or living trousers, but we’re always up for a challenge.  If your needs are slightly more grounded, then get in touch or shop online now.

Photos kindly supplied by Mark Entwistle