It is that time of the year again, when the neighborhood surrounding the main roads in Chelsea prepare for the most awaited period of the year for horticultural enthusiasts. When the vibrant roads transform into an ocean of flowers, it is the beginning of a fabulous week to celebrate the beginning of (almost) summer.
The iconic RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) Chelsea Flower Show, was held for the first time in 1862. It has been held in the ground of the Royal Hospital Chelsea since 1913 every year apart from the two World Wars and while the world stood still during Covid-19 lockdown in 2020. This year’s 2022 Flower Show is held from Tuesday 24th of May to Saturday 28th of May. The flower show is showcasing an impressive 25 Show Gardens, 18 smaller gardens and many Platinum Jubilee floral tributes.
Prior to the public opening each year, Her Majesty the Queen, accompanied by some Royals, would visit the Chelsea Flower Show. After her visit, the doors would open to welcome VIP guests, visitors and garden designers from around the globe. The RHS Chelsea Flower Show is the most prestigious and biggest gardening and landscaping event in the world.
Every year the RHS Chelsea Flower show designates the medal-winning gardens and reveals the outcomes just before the opening on Tuesday morning. The medals given are Gold (the highest award given to a garden designer), Silver-gilt, Silver and Bronze.
As a magnificent alternative to the rather pricy and sold-out-long-in-advance RHS Chelsea Flower Show, there is the breath-taking and stunning floral exhibition throughout the streets of Chelsea. This year’s Chelsea in Bloom, which has the most beautiful floral displays, is not surprisingly an homage to the upcoming Queen’s Platinum Jubilee next week. This year’s theme is therefore called “British Icons,” taking inspiration from elements across the United Kingdom. With over 90 shops, restaurant and hotels participating in the competition for the award of “Best Floral Display,” it is London’s largest floral exhibition. What makes Chelsea in Bloom’s competition ultimately appealing, is that exhibition is totally free and accessible to everyone. It attracts millions of people from around the globe to admire what can be defined as a colorful artistic floral paradise. It is always held in parallel with the Flower Show. Chelsea in Bloom is organized by the Cadogan Estate and in partnership with the Royal Horticultural Society for the third year in a row. The displays do not get any funding from the government/province, each shop/restaurant pay for its own floral display.
In addition to the vibrant and incredible floral art, visitors can get treated to twice daily free walking tours from an ambassador. The approximately one-hour tour will lead throughout the neighborhood from Sloane Street and Pavilion Road, to Duke of York Square and the Kings Road. There are also complementary 20-minute rickshaw rides bookable in advance. This is in contrast to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, where children under the age of seven are strictly not permitted. It is a huge success for families and a highlight of the day for every child. Predictably, these days are also a hotspot for bloggers and Instagrammers alongside everyday passers-by who simply want to get a glance of this wonderful and special atmosphere.
In 2021 the winner of Chelsea in Bloom was the Kings Road florist shop Lavender Green. They were awarded as “Best Floral Display” through a specialized panel of judges and through public voting.
This year Lavender Green’s florists have decorated once again their window display with an impressive piece of art. They have presented an extraordinary, oversized Queen’s crown display. According to one florist, everything is sustainable and recyclable. They used for example, over 500 hydrangeas in the middle of the display. All flowers used are English grown in the New Forest. They have been working very hard designing and creating it since beginning of January. It took them just under one week, with 5-6 florists a day in-store to install the display. It can be admired until early June 2022.
Chelsea has been able to convey the best of British floral art also this year. Topping everyone’s expectations and leaving visitors in awe of the beauty encountered during this week.
A video of Chelsea Flower Show and Chelsea in Bloom can be found here.