Sadly it’s been a number of years since any of the team have had the chance to attend in person, a combination of COVID and hectic schedules pre-summer season.
Earlier this year, things were a little different, the RHS embraced the ‘new normal’ and took the event into the digital world from Monday 17th to Friday 21st May.
That meant we could enjoy the best show gardens from the comfort of the Lazy Susan HQ but it just wasn’t the same.
However, with restrictions easing, the real thing is back this week (albeit with additional COVID safety measures in place), with the final day this coming Sunday (26th Sept 2021).
And, for the first time in its 108-year history, the world’s greatest flower show is being held in September.
As Helena Pettit, RHS Director of Gardens & Shows explains:
Following the announcement we have been busy liaising with our show exhibitors and other stakeholders to see who is able to commit to the new autumn date and have been delighted by the initial response and willingness of those within the industry, ready and willing to rise to the challenge and adapt their plans to be part of the historic show. It was a difficult decision to make but the positive reaction we have had by so many has demonstrated that it was the right decision to make, we are lucky to work within such a supportive industry and want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who is working to ensure the world’s most famous flower show can return this autumn. We look forward to sharing more details soon.
One thing we're sure of here at Lazy Susan, is that the RHS will still be delivering their usual cutting-edge mix of garden design, fabulous floral displays and some of the best in gardening retail.
However, this will, of course, come with an autumnal twist, and a few of the Lazy Susan team are lucky enough to be heading up on the train to SW3 first thing Saturday morning.
In case you missed it, like us are planning to go this weekend, or you simply want to reminisce, we’ve summarised some of the things that are on our ‘to see’ list in this post.
RHS COP26 Garden
First up is a garden the team will definitely be visiting as it is focused on highlighting the importance of sustainability.
Inspired by the UN Climate Change Conference hosted by the UK in Glasgow this year, this is a space designed to provide a visual representation of how the climate crisis is affecting our gardens.
Designed by Marie-Louise Agius, it promises to take us on a journey through four key themes; decline, adaptation, mitigation and balance.
At the heart of the garden, is a Universal Window Box – A mini-mitigation with a variety of climbers, annuals and small shrubs, which any of us can easily replicate plant, no matter how small out outdoor space.
Finnish Soul Garden
The Finnish Soul Garden was first shown at the online flower show back in May, so we’re glad to be able to get a proper look at this one.
It depicts a seaside garden intended to be used as a recreational facility by city dwellers.
With our HQ based in a coastal city, this is one that’s piqued the attention of the Lazy Susan’ers heading up. Plus, we can see what looks like garden furniture in this one too!
Designed to celebrate the International Year of Plant Health 2020, it features natural Baltic seaside vegetation, and a sauna/cool-off area.
You can still view the virtual tour from the May show below from the RHS YouTube channel too:
Psalm 23 Garden
Also originally designed for the May show, it’s making a return this week and is one we’re again looking forward to seeing for real.
Designed by the award-winning (and excellent), Sarah Eberle, she had the following to say about her Psalm 23 Garden:
The later show dates give us the rare opportunity to work with plants for a different season. This will be a historic event for many reasons and that is something to celebrate. September is my favourite month and it has a rich tapestry of plant interest. September light is also very special and I think will make the gardens memorable. I am lucky, as the plants within The Bible Society: Psalm 23 Garden will probably look even better in September, I will of course have to change some flower accents but little else.
Our recent Lazy Susan’s top 12 autumn gardening tips article took a good look at why the Lazy Susan teams are big fans of putting a shift in our gardens at this time of year, so hopefully, Sarah’s design will give us a little further inspiration.
You can still view the virtual tour from the May show below:
The Florence Nightingale Garden
This garden was designed as a celebration of modern-day nursing, and after the last 18 months, they definitely deserve it.
It was also shown at the virtual show in May but the design has been adapted for the autumn.
It’ll be interesting to see what designer, Robert Myers has done in terms of planting.
He had the following to say a few weeks back:
I’m also itching to see how my fellow designers will make use of the autumn plant palette in their show gardens. It is really exciting to be part of what is likely to be a rather unique and memorable ‘autumn Chelsea’ in the Show’s history. The whole atmosphere will be different, and I am thrilled that we’ll be contributing to that.
The Calm of Bangkok
Bangkok is one of the most colourful, vibrant and beautiful cities that I’ve had the pleasure of visiting.
The Calm of Bangkok garden by Thai design company Ging Gaan Bai has been created to capture that spirit by combining tropical-inspired planting with calm simplicity.
However, the part of this garden that the Lazy Susan team are most looking forward to seeing is the handwoven hammock.
Traditionally made it took almost two months to complete by designers Tawatchai Sakdikul and Ploytabtim Suksang.
You can catch a glimpse of it in this video from the May virtual show:
Other things we want to see at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show
Away from the show gardens, there’s also much we want to see.
In fact, I’d be lying if said we weren’t looking forward to a little green-fingered retail therapy too.
The six House Plant Studios will definitely provide a little inspiration for the Lazy Susan HQ, and I’m sure a few contacts and purchases will be made at The Great Pavilion.
Garden Furniture at RHS Chelsea Flower Show
We’ve levelled this criticism at the Flower Show in the past… But we just don’t feel there’s enough garden furniture!
OK, it’s just our opinion, but we do feel strongly that no garden design is complete without garden furniture. It's the best way to enjoy the space. A garden should function as a room as well as being something wonderful to look at.
I suppose you could argue it’s a flower show but, for us, in the show gardens at least, we’re hoping to see a bit more this weekend. There’s always a lot of chairs and hammocks but not much in the way of tables, etc.
However, from what we’ve read online, in other previews, we do know of a few exciting bits, so hopefully, there’ll be more for us to seek out. And to be fair, recent years have definitely seen much more in terms of type and innovation.
Watching BBC2 last night, we know that the Hot Tin Roof Garden designed by Ellie Edkins features a beautiful slung garden chair. None of the team recognised the maker, so that’ll be one we’re looking forward to seeing up close.
The garden itself is a great example of how simple it is to transform a small space. It makes great use of corrugated steel, which is a material many would shy away from, however, it contrasts beautifully in the white and grey against the stunning planting scheme.
I think we read also somewhere that there’s some garden furniture that will never require repainting and doesn’t need covering in winter?
No, I’m afraid it’s not Lazy Susan Garden Furniture (maybe next year), as much as the descriptions sound like something we’d say about our collection.
This piece is made from a massive slab of York stone that functions as a garden chair, table or both. The idea is you throw on a comfy cushion or blanket on and you’re good to go.
It could be this one was from the May show and hasn't made it to this one? I’m afraid we have no details but it definitely sounds like one we need to see for ourselves if it is there. I’m guessing it won’t be as easy to pick up and move around the garden as our furniture but I’m sure it’ll look stunning.
And last on our list of must-see is what we are lead to believe is an incredible 36-seater garden bench in the New Zealand conceptual garden.
...Now that sounds very much like what we would call a real focal point!
The idea is that it can be scaled down (or up) to fit your garden, and is designed for those who like to party and entertain around the BBQ/fire pit.
Maybe we’ll see you there!