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RHS Chelsea gets off to a busy start

Animal sculptures are displayed on the Easigrass exhibit RHS at the RHS Chelsea Flower show in London. Copyright: RHS. Credit: RHS/ Luke MacGregor

The show runs for six days and is the pinnacle event for the UK leisure horticulture industry.



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24 May 2017

This week almost 165,000 visitors are lining up to attend a very busy Chelsea Flower Show in Central London which opened with a packed press and judging day on Monday. The show runs for six days and is the pinnacle event for the UK leisure horticulture industry.

This is a massive consumer retailing showcase with trade stands in a central pavilion big enough to park 500 London busses. The retail theme is strongly horticultural and augmented by jewellery, textiles, garden buildings and outdoor seating.

Business appears brisk and money is changing hands on all the trade stalls.Crowds attend the RHS Chelsea Flower show in London Tuesday May 23, 2017. Copyright: RHS Credit: RHS / Luke MacGregor

There is a truly international feel to this event with visitors from all over the world chatting away and photographing the stunning exhibits.

Even on Tuesday, the first day it’s open – albeit only to Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) members – there are long queues for some of the exhibits.

Given Brexit and all its implications it is amazing that exactly ninety years ago in 1927, there was a campaign to get the RHS to ban foreign exhibits from the Chelsea Flower Show in order to reduce competition with British firms. The RHS refused, saying: “horticulture knows nothing of nationality.”

It’s worth a visit to see the standard of retailing, but if you are thinking of popping over at short notice, all of the tickets for this years event priced from £27 to £72 are reportedly sold out and touts are asking up to £400!

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