As most of us already know, for the first time in its 108-year history, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show will be held in September this year. Running from Tuesday 21 September, for members only, and Thursday 23 September to Sunday 26 September for everyone; the world's most famous flower show is set to be a historic event. The signs of early autumn will be creeping through as foliage starts to turn and the temperature cools. But you needn't worry about whether this will impact the exhibitions and amazing selection of shopping stalls. Rob Evans from Pheasant Acre Plants is looking forward to the timing of the show this September. He thinks it will be a great opportunity to show dahlias and gladioli. And Raymond Evison, from Raymond Evison Clematis, winner of 30 RHS gold medals, is very much looking forward to the chance to show off his stunning array of plants at the start of autumn.


So, what gardens will be on display and what designer's are featuring? Here is the lowdown....

A Swiss Sanctuary

Designed by Lilly Gomm Built by Collinson’s Landscaping Sponsored by Switzerland Tourism.

Based upon her own experiences of traveling through the stunning landscapes of Switzerland, Lilly has managed to capture the variations that the diverse climate brings to the rich natural landscape. Included in this garden are stones to represent mountains, a gentle water feature to capture the stunning lakes in Switzerland, which flows down to a lakeside seating area. For added detail an iron bench represents the iconic train tracks that Switzerland is well known for and its sustainable travel ethos.

Bible Society: The Pslam 23 Garden

Designed by Sarah Eberle Built by Landform Consultants Ltd, Sponsored by Bible Society.

After taking gold for her ‘Resilience Garden’ in 2019, designer Sarah Eberle has returned to feature again this year with a theme of peace and sanctuary. She took inspiration from Dartmoor, where she grew up, and has tried to encapsulate the beauty and sanctuary that the peaceful lands offer. The Psalm 23 Garden hopes to provide a peaceful area for one to pause and reflect in. The feelings of calmness that the garden evokes hope to enable engagement with nature and physical and mental restoration. Sarah has based the ethos on the famous verse from The Bible; Pslam 23 ‘The Lord is my Shepard’. Many of us with resonate with this verse in relation to the pandemic. And it is this sense of reflection, unity and looking forwards that Sarah hopes to beautifully capture in her garden later this year.

Bodmin Jail: 60° East – A Garden Between Continents

Designed by Ekaterina Zasukhina with Carly Kershaw Built by Cube 1994 Ltd Sponsored by Bodmin Jail

A diverse mix of planting palettes from Europe and Asia is displayed in this garden that ultimately pays homage to Russia’s Ural Mountain landscapes. From peaks, slopes and rivers, there are subtle references to this stunning area of beauty. The design as a whole is inspired the city of Yekaterinbug, just east of the Urals; the mountain range that separates Europe from Asia. Within this diverse garden of two continents, visitors will find colour and joy, and also get to see what grows in a climate with lows of up to -20 °C.

Finding Our Way: An NHS Tribute Garden

Designed by Naomi Ferrett-Cohen Built by Bunham Landscaping Ltd Sponsored by University of Oxford and Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Poignant for 2021, this garden is a celebration of the NHS and incredible support that its staff have provided us all with during this pandemic. It is a tribute to all the unsung heroes form all areas of healthcare during this last year. Representing the collaboration between the NHS and UK university researchers to discover vaccines and new treatment approaches for coronavirus, the garden aims to reflect this strong rapport. Featuring a hardwood canopy, planting and pools, the water represents the collaboration between staff, which is shown through the series of rills and pool. There are also warm tones flowing through the planting, such as Acer griseum, Rosa ‘Phyllis Bide’ and R. glauca.

Finnish Soul Garden: A Nordic Heritage Seaside Garden

Designed by Taina Suonio Built by Conquest Creative Spaces Sponsored by Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Finland

Escape to the seaside in this glorious seaside garden. Featuring Baltic seaside vegetation, a sauna and cool-off area, the garden features key elements that are synonymous with Finnish culture. The designer tried to capture the natural green Nordic seaside environment, by including a green roof above the sauna area, a calm water feature and traditional summer flowers. The garden celebrates the International Year of Plant Health 2020, initiated by Finland.

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Guangzhou China: Guangzhou Garden

Designed by Peter Chmiel with Chin-Jung Chen Built by The Outdoor Room Sponsored by Guangzhou, China.

Two years in the making, representing a tier one city in China in a garden 20 x 10 metres was a challenge for the team. Based upon the team’s trip to this city in China, they were inspired to base the garden design upon core elements they observed within the city of Guangzhou. At the head of the garden is the Green Lung, at the centre is the social heart, for people and wildlife, and to the south is a wetland garden; known as the blue kidney. The whole garden was modelled around an abstract form of a woodland doe; the water flows from the green lung, the social heart, and out into the wetland area. An array of beautiful flowers and plants will characterise the serene, elegant, green theme of the overall garden design,

Guide Dogs’ 90th Anniversary Garden

Designed by Adam Woolcott & Jonathan Smith Built by Conway Landscapes Sponsored by The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association

A celebration of 90 years of the first four dog partnerships is on display in this special garden. The wildlfower garden tells a story and gives a gentle nod back to the 1930’s, when the first guide dogs were German shepards; and their owners were WW1 veterans blinded in battle. Encompassing sculpture and sensory elements, the garden depicts a journey that someone with sight loss takes. Starting with fear and darkness, progressing to acceptance, enrichment and liberation with the help of their guide dog. This emotive journey is portrayed with an array of ferns and dark foliage plants, beautifully contrasted with colourful meadow planting. Overall, this simply yet striking garden provides a memorable experience and aims to provide a strong message of hope.

The Blue Diamond Forage Garden

Designed by The Blue Diamond Group Team Built by Conquest Creative Spaces Sponsored by Blue Diamond

The Blue Diamond Forage Garden aims to capture the spirit of The Forge at Branscombe in Devon. This recreation of a blacksmith’s garden even features a thatched roof. A selection of edible herbs and food are grown in the informal cottage garden and wildflowers decorate the banks of the stream that flows through the main garden. Down the finest details, metal structures decorate the garden that have been inspired by nature.

The Calm of Bangkok

Designed by Tawatchai Sakdikul and Ploytabtim Suksang Built by AJ Watts Landscaping

This vibrant and diverse garden has been designed to capture different elements of the cosmopolitan city of Bangkok. The chaotic part of the garden represents the business quarter, and then within the main garden there is a shelter that represents the calmer side to the city. This shelter features the highlight of the whole garden; a hand-woven hammock and spring created by residents of a village near Bangkok. This aims to acknowledge and pay homage to the element of the passage of time passing from one generation to the next. Overall, this modern minimal garden aims to highlight the different sides to the city of Bangkok.

The Florence Nightingale Garden: A Celebration of Modern-Day Nursing

Designed by Robert Myers Built by Bowles & Wyer Sponsored by The Burdett Trust for Nursing

The Florence Nightingale Garden is a celebration marking 200 years since the birth of Florence Nightingale. The design is of an imagine courtyard garden for a new hospital and hopes to gently nod to the critical role that nurses play in healthcare today. With a theme of ‘nurture through nature’ the garden is surrounded by a timber pergola on three sides, and can be viewed inside the building, and is also accessible to sit and stroll through. There are shaded places to sit, naturalistic planting, lush greenery and water to help evoke a calm and peaceful place that the senses can engage with.

The Yeo Valley Organic Garden

Designed by Tom Massey, supported by Sarah Mead Built by Landscape Associates Sponsored by Yeo Valley

A beautiful garden bursting with nature and flowering plants, cleverly incorporating habitats and plants found at Yeo Valley’s family-run organic garden in Somerset. The garden starts with a perennial meadow packed with a variety of colours and scents, and moves on to an egg-shaped, steam-bent oak hide, which hangs above the flowing stream. This provides a quiet place to relax and observe the natural surroundings and wildlife. The stream runs through the entire garden and connects each part of the garden, starting at the top of a gentle hill and flowing from a steel trough. The gentle flowing provides a calming and soothing backdrop. Enjoy the tranquility and calmness offered in this small haven.

Trailfinders’ 50th Anniversary Garden

Designed by Jonathan Snow Built by Stewart Landscape Construction Sponsored by Trailfinders

The Trailfinders 50th Anniversary Garden is a celebration of the travel company which sold its very first trip to Kathmandu back in 1970. The design has been inspired by the landscape of Kathmandu. Within this garden, there is a shelter which is inspired by the vernacular architecture of the region and a series of paths criss-crossing the garden. Unique planting is on display that is representative of the Himalalyan climate such as; Pinus wallichiana and Dryopteris wallichiana, alongside flowering thalictrums.

Other highlights to look forward to

The Discovery Zone – on show in the Great Pavilion, this is a place where science and horticulture come together to be celebrated. Displaying the very latest innovations and research in the world of horticulture, you can explore displays and interactive exhibits.

House Plant Studios – tapping into the current popularity of indoor house plants, there will be a selection of lush green plant displays to help inspire your next indoor house plant project.

Chelsea’s Great Pavilion will have an exciting selection of nurseries, the world’s finest growers, and so much more. You’ll be able to pick up some expert advice, top growing tips and peruse a wonderful selection of plants to purchase.

Food and drink - As always, there will be excellent selection of food and drink experiences to enjoy. Jardin Blanc provides a haven for exquisite dining and unwinding. Head Chef, Raymond Blanc OBE, has designed the menu. Think unforgettable food and brilliant bubbles to enjoy whilst browsing some excellent shopping stalls.

*All images are from the RHS Chelsea website. Don't forget to head to their Virtual Chelsea 2021 event to find out more.


RHS members can enjoy early booking and discounted ticket prices.


Katie BealeEditorial & Digital Assistant

Katie is Editorial & Digital Assistant on Gardens Illustrated