First Chelsea Flower Show opens on 20 May for three days.
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- The history of Chelsea Flower Show
- Virtual RHS Chelsea Flower Show delayed unitl September
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The General Strike threatens to disrupt the show, but in the end only delays it for a week.
A series of small tents is replaced by the Great Marquee, recorded by the Guiness Book of Records as the world’s largest tent, at 3.4 acres.
RHS Secretary Mr A Simmonds is alleged to have evicted scantily clad models from a rock garden, on the grounds that ‘livestock of any kind’ may not be exhibited at the show.
The Times becomes the first newspaper to sponsor a garden. The Garden of Tomorrow features ‘the most modern aids to horticulture’, including a radio-controlled lawn mower.
Designer John Brookes presents his first Chelsea garden.
Carpet bedding makes a comeback, with a display by the Royal Parks. Increasingly ambitious bedding displays soon become a popular annual feature.
Admissions are limited to 40,000 a day (cutting total admissions from 250,000 to 160,000) and for the first time, RHS members are charged for tickets (though they do get a members-only day). 10,000 members resign in protest.
Horticulture Week asks: ‘Why don’t Chelsea gardens ever have sheds, dustbins or washing lines?’
An antique gnome protests against the ban on his brethren by holding a demo and blocking the entrance to the show.
A new category for small gardens, ‘Courtyard’ gardens is introduced, followed by the ‘Chic’ and ‘City’ gardens in 2001 – categories continue to evolve.
A new rigid pavilion replaces the Great Marquee, which is cut up and made into 7,000 jackets, aprons and bags.
James May exhibits a garden made entirely of Plasticine. He was presented with a special Plasticine Gold Medal
Tony Smith’s The Easigrass Garden caused a stir when it featured artificial grass.
The first garden since Babylon to hang in the air – Diarmuid Gavin’s ‘Irish Sky Garden’.
At 23, David Rich, was one of the youngest ever designers at Chelsea, designing Show Garden ‘Vital Earth The Night Sky Garden’ with his elder brother Harry.
Collaborating with the 5000 Poppies Project, designer Philip Johnson created a spectacular remembrance tribute and used almost 300,000 individually crocheted poppies. Covering nearly 2,000 sq m from the vista of the showground to the Royal Hospital Chelsea, each handmade poppy signified a tribute to those who served in all wars.
IKEA & Tom Dixon: ‘Gardening Will Save the World’ was the first ever judged Show Garden within the Great Pavilion.
Sadly the familiar May show falls foul of Covid… But is replaced by a triumphant Virtual Chelsea event in its absence.
Finally, in 2021 we get two bits of the Chelsea cherry. Not only is there a Virtual Chelsea event as per last year – this year taking place 17 to 21 May – but the show makes it’s return in full 21 to 26 September. Make sure you visit gardensillustrated.com throughout both events for all the latest, and sign up to our newsletter for updates below.