Chelsea Flower Show in full swing as Australian garden awarded top prize


The popular event is celebrating its 100th year


By SWLondoner staff

The 100th Chelsea Flower Show is well underway, with over 165,000 expected to attend across this week.

On Monday, the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh toured the show, where they were shown around the Forget-me-not garden by Prince Harry and its designer Jinny Blom.

The work, which includes Lesotho flowers, aims to build awareness of Harry’s Sentebale charity, which supports vulnerable children.

Other celebrities to have attended this year’s event include chef Jamie Oliver, actress Joanna Lumley and Olympic cyclist Victoria Pendleton.

Gnomes are also in high attendance at this year’s event, with organisers temporarily lifting the ban on the garden accessories.

More than 100 gnomes have been decorated by stars including Sir Elton John, Lily Allen and Dame Helen Mirren.

They are being auctioned off as part of the RHS Chelsea Centenary Appeal, which aims to highlight the breadth of opportunities that horticulture offers.  

Alan Titchmarsh, the RHS vice president, said that they must act now to make horticulture appeal to young people.

“A survey of 1,000 people last year revealed that 70% of 18-year-olds believe horticultural careers should only be considered by people who have failed academically. Nearly 50% of under-25s think horticulture is an unskilled career,” he said.

The charity aims to fund 15 apprenticeships in the next three years, create an RHS Learning Centre in Essex and further support the RHS Campaign for School Gardening.

Yesterday saw a garden design team from Australia walk away with the top prize for the first time in the show’s history.  

Trailfinders Australian Garden, by Fleming’s Nurseries, was awarded Best in Show, with its interpretation of the theme of sustainable design.

Designer Phillip Johnson used 300 tons of Scottish gabbro rock to simulate an Australian gorge, with a billabong, a natural swimming pond that is fed by rain water harvested from around the Chelsea site, at the bottom.

The win sparked euphoria, with one volunteer stripping down to his underwear and diving into the pool to celebrate.

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