What is the Chelsea Flower Show and what happens to the gardens after the event is over?

THE annual RHS Chelsea Flower Show is a significant event for garden lovers and English culture.

It’s so important that even some royals have attended the Chelsea Flower Show over the years and are doing so again in 2022 as the Queen hopes to feel fit enough to perform at the prestigious event.

he Chelsea Flower Show has been organized for over 100 years


he Chelsea Flower Show has been organized for over 100 yearsPhoto credit: Rex

What is the Chelsea Flower Show and why do we have it?

The first Chelsea Flower Show dates back to 1913, then known as the Great Spring Show.

Since then it has always taken place at the Royal Hospital Chelsea.

The King and Queen did not attend the event as attendance was yet to become a tradition for members of the royal family.

Instead, the king’s mother, Queen Alexandra, attended with two of her children.

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Organized by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), the Flower Show offers visitors the opportunity to see modern designed gardens, new plants and equipment and get other ideas from the top experts in the industry.

At a time of war and crisis for the country, it took the government some time to realize the event as a cultural event.

In 1919, after the war, the government forced the RHS to pay an entertainment tax on the show.

Resources and finances were limited and the continuation of what became an annual show threatened.

But the RHS convinced the government that it had educational advantages and began to make its mark on British culture.

In the 1980s, the show grew in popularity, even selling 40,000 tickets a day.

Today it is one of the most famous garden shows in the world and attracts a lot of attention and visitors from all over the world.

It made way for foreign brands like Japanese and American to share their creations with British culture as well, and some top brands are even collaborating with the RHS to develop new lines and products.

What happens to the gardens after the event ends?

A Chelsea show garden is estimated to cost over £200,000.

When the event ends, some of the plants are immediately sold to visitors.

Some of the other plants are on loan and must be returned to their growers for seed collection later in the season.

In the past, some of the tools used to create such gardens and even the plants were discarded.

But with sustainability in mind, the RHS will not allow this massive waste now.

Instead, most of it is donated to charitable gardens or community spaces.

Part of it will be auctioned off and the proceeds will go to charity.

Some features can’t always be donated or auctioned off, so they’ll be returned to where they got them from, or they’ll be put into storage until they can be reused or resold. What is the Chelsea Flower Show and what happens to the gardens after the event is over?

Jessica MacLeish

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