Chelsea Flower Show 2024: Discover how to enjoy the event from your own couch - plus lineup, medals and theme

King Charles and Queen Camilla got a sneak preview of the Chelsea Flower Show this week.King Charles and Queen Camilla got a sneak preview of the Chelsea Flower Show this week.
King Charles and Queen Camilla got a sneak preview of the Chelsea Flower Show this week. | Getty Images
One of the world’s biggest celebrations of flowers and gardening takes place this week.

First held in 1912, the Royal Horticultural Society’s Chelsea Flower Show takes place every year over five days in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea in London.

Traditionally attended by members of the royal family, it features a range of green-fingered exhibits, from the large show gardens and feature gardens to smaller spaces of the artisan and urban gardens.

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There are also endless displays or flowers, herbs, fruits and vegetables, alongside numerous exhibitors from the world of gardening - and a healthy sprinkling of celebrities.

Winning a gold medal at Chelsea is one of the highest accolades in the world of horticulture.

Here’s everything you need to know about this year’s show.

When is the Chelsea Flower Show?

The Chelsea Flower Show 2024 runs from Tuesday, May 21, until Saturday, May 25.

Can I watch the Chelsea Flower Show on television?

Don’t worry if you can’t make it along to the show - the BBC has exclusive rights to broadcast all the action from the show. The coverage is as follows:

Weekday afternoons from Tuesday, May 21, to Friday, May 24, 3.45-4.45pm on BBC One

RHS Chelsea regular Nicki Chapman and presenter Angellica Bell will present coverage from the show every afternoon with celebrity guests, live demonstrations, a variety of features and money-saving tips

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Weekday evenings from Tuesday, May 20, to Friday, May 24, 8-9pm on BBC Two

Gardeners' World stars Monty Don and Joe Swift will be meeting VIP guests and reviewing the gardens with Chelsea's team of experts. There will also be an 'Ask Monty & Joe' segment to answer viewers’ gardening queries.

Wednesday, May 22, 7-7.30pm on BBC One

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Sophie and Joe launch the highly coveted BBC RHS People's Choice Award, as they run down the Show Gardens in contention for the annual public vote.

Friday May 25, 7.30-8pm on BBC One

Sophie and Joe return to announce the winner of the People's Choice Award. Then switch over to BBC Two from 8-9pm where Monty and Joe continue the show with a look at the winning garden.

Saturday, May 25, 8-9pm on BBC Two

A highlights programme helmed by Monty and Joe.

Sunday, May 26, 6-7pm on BBC One

Sophie and Joe look back on all the best bits from the flower show.

What medals are awarded at the Chelsea Flower Show?

There are four grades of award presented – gold, silver-gilt, silver and bronze – in each of the awards categories as follows:

  • Flora – Gardens and floral exhibits
  • Hogg – Exhibits of trees
  • Knightian – Exhibits of vegetables, including herbs
  • Lindley – Exhibits of special educational or scientific interest
  • Grenfell – Exhibits of pictures, photographs, floral arrangements and floristry

There are also a series of special awards presented at the show as follows:

  • Best Show Garden Award
  • Best Courtyard Garden Award
  • Best Chic Garden Award
  • Best City Garden Award
  • RHS Sundries Bowl
  • RHS Junior Display Trophy
  • RHS Floral Arrangement Trophies
  • RHS Floristry Trophies
  • Show Certificates of Merit
  • Certificates for Junior Displays
  • RHS President's Award
  • RHS Best Tradestand Award
  • RHS Director General's Award for the Best Tradestand

What are the Show Gardens for 2024?

There are eight show gardens at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show. These tend to be the highlight of many visitors day and are as follows.

Muscular Dystrophy UK – Forest Bathing Garden

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Designed by Ula Maria, Muscular Dystrophy UK - Forest Bathing Garden is a much needed place of solace and reflection for those affected by a muscle wasting condition. It seeks to showcase how an immersive, yet accessible garden can offer a place of refuge to patients, their families, and clinicians at the time of diagnosis and beyond. The design of the garden is inspired by the ancient Japanese practice of Shinrin-yoku, which means bathing in the forest atmosphere and reconnecting with nature through our senses. The garden seeks to awaken imagination and innate connection to nature by bridging a gap between us and the natural world.

St James’s Piccadilly: Imagine the World to be Different

Designed by Robert Myres, the show garden pays homage to the revitalising influence of urban green spaces, symbolising a message of hope and recovery while igniting the imagination of future generations to envision a different world.

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Upon entering through an archway reminiscent of the proposed gateways leading to the churchyard at St James’s Piccadilly, visitors step into a contemplative haven. Here, nature takes centre stage with a lush, biodiverse planting scheme.

This tranquil, introspective space serves as a sanctuary for urban dwellers and city wildlife. For visitors to sit, stroll, and immerse themselves in the sensory delights of dappled shade, multi-layered verdant landscapes, and soothing water features.

The garden exhibits a diverse selection of climate-resilient trees, offering a place of restoration for those searching for peace and inspiration and a circular, sculptural timber counselling cabin sits among the foliage.

Stroke Association’s Garden for Recovery

Designed by Miria Harris, this garden has been designed as a peaceful, sensory space to support stroke recovery. Sculptural Pinus sylvestris and Pinus mugo trees symbolise resilience in the face of stroke trauma; their anthropomorphic shapes offer a comforting alternative structure to the built environment of a hospital, their scent, a transportive effect. Colour, fragrance and the sound of water provide soft way-finding for those with visual or mobility impairments, while a biodiverse matrix of native and non-native plants are chosen to meet the demands of different planting conditions in the garden. The concept and material choices of the garden have all been inspired by the designer’s own experience of surviving a stroke and the stories of other people who have been affected by stroke.

Terrence Higgins Trust Bridge to 2030 Garden

Designed by Matthew Childs, the entrance into the garden is reminiscent of the flooded base of a rejuvenated quarry landscape. The water level rises and falls, revealing a monolith slate stepping stone creating a bridge to the 2030 vision of no new HIV cases. The tombstone, which once represented death and fear, is now a crossing, leading to a secluded terrace in which to enjoy a positive, hopeful future together.   The front of the garden is a crevice garden, which takes inspiration from natural areas where plants grow in gaps between rocks. This ornamental space transitions to a more natural look towards the rear of the garden.   Granite boulders are scattered through the garden, inspired by those found in the slate landscapes of North Wales. One of these boulders balances precariously from the raised bed on the boundary, looking as though it is about to fall. Beneath it, fragile sticks give the illusion they are supporting the weight of the boulder – an analogy for those people lost to HIV.   The planting in the garden is inspired by the re-colonisation of plants in the redundant slate mines of North Wales, by both nature, and from the subtle intervention of ecologists and horticulturalists.

The National Garden Scheme Garden

Designed by Tom Stuart-Smith, the garden has an ‘edge of woodland’ theme and appearance, laid out through an open hazel coppice with a collection of more drought tolerant woodland plants suited to the south east of the UK. A portion of the plants have been contributed by National Garden Scheme garden owners, symbolic of the tradition of sharing and generosity in the charity.   The garden centres on a carbon sink timber hut where visitors and garden volunteers can congregate for tea and cake, synonymous with a National Garden Scheme garden open day. The garden celebrates the National Garden Scheme’s nearly 100 years of opening private gardens to the public and raising funds for nursing and health charities.

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The National Autistic Society Garden

Designed by Sophie Parmenter and Dido Milne, The National Autistic Society Garden seeks to capture an autistic person’s everyday experience of the world, using walls of cork to create a series of spaces dedicated to different types of social interaction - at work, with friends and family, with partners, and with ourselves.        It highlights a strategy called ‘masking’ – a potentially draining process involving consciously or unconsciously hiding autistic characteristics in order to fit in. The cork ‘masks’ encircle a central sanctuary with a mesmeric kinetic sculpture, alluding to the inner mind’s complexity and beauty.

The Octavia Hill Garden by Blue Diamond with the National Trust

Designed by Ann-Marie Powell, working with the Blue Diamond Team, this is inspired by pioneering social reformer Octavia Hill (1838–1912), a founder of the National Trust, believed that ‘the healthy gift of air and the joy of plants and flowers’ were vital in everyone’s life. She worked tirelessly to improve urban housing and protect green space, yet today, one in three people in Britain still don’t have access to nearby nature-rich spaces. Conceptually located on an urban brownfield site, this beautiful, plant-filled urban community wildlife garden is designed to stimulate physical, mental, and social wellbeing. The garden increases urban-biodiversity and encourages visitors to feel they are part of nature by making intimate connections with plants and wildlife. The garden is built as a series of open-air sitting rooms, where visitors can experience different views and atmospheres. Sloping level changes with wheelchair accessible paths, lead visitors to a planted shade canopy, observation platform, wildlife pond or walking stream, providing multiple opportunities to enjoy the garden wildlife, feasting on the pollinator-friendly planting.

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WaterAid Garden

Designed by Tom Massey and South Korean architect Je Ahn, the WaterAid garden explores the challenges presented by an ever-changing climate. It focuses on sustainable water management and features a colourful array of plant species designed to deal with varying amounts of rainfall. The garden uses materials that are reclaimed and repurposed for a lighter carbon footprint. At the centre of the design is a rainwater-harvesting pavilion, inspired by WaterAid’s work with communities around the world to develop sustainable water solutions. The structure harvests every drop of rainfall, filtering and storing this precious resource for drinking and irrigating while also slowing flow and providing shade.

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