Photographs from the 2019 Chelsea Flower in London, England, highlight what to expect inside the Great Pavilion
Held for five days every May in central London, the RHS Chelsea Flower is the most famous flower and landscape show in the United Kingdom and perhaps in the world. The show features Show Gardens, smaller Artisan and Space To Grow or Urban Gardens, the Great Pavilion with floral and plant displays, and hundreds of exhibitors. This post focuses on what you’ll find inside the Great Pavilion. For an overall guide to the show with information about its history, what to expect at the show, and how to visit, read my post Guide to the Chelsea Flower Show.
The Great Pavilion contains displays from some of the best nurseries in Britain, science and education displays about horticulture, floral arrangements, and floristry displays. The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has a booth inside the pavilion where you’ll find displays from specialist nurseries that have been awarded Master Grower Status and finalists in the Chelsea Plant of the Year and Garden Products of the Year competitions.
The RHS Gardening Advice Team will help you with your own gardening questions. Volunteer Plant Finders can be found throughout the pavilion helping guide visitors to exhibits with specific plants of interest to them.
The Chelsea Flower Show takes place on the grounds in front of the Royal Hospital in Chelsea, London. The obelisk in the centre of the Great Pavilion tent is normally surrounded by fields of grass. The monument honours those who lost their lives in the 1849 Battle of Chillianwala in the Second Anglo-Sikh War. The tent is built over and around the monument for the show.
The Great Pavilion is roughly 11,775 square metres or 2.90 acres in size, enough room to park 500 London buses. That’s a lot of space for a variety of colourful and fragrant exhibits. The best way for me to give you a flavour for what to expect inside the pavilion is by sharing some photos from my 2019 visit.
Focus On Particular Flowers and Plants
Many of the nurseries exhibiting at the show specialize in a particular plant or type of plant. It is impressive to see a large array, in differing colours, of one type of flower.
Floristry and Floristry Competitions
The Florist of the Year and the Young Florist of the Year competitions offer florists a chance to display their work. Given that 2019 is the 200th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s birth, the theme for the 2019 floristry competitions was crowns. Here are a couple of the entries.
Discovery displays give insight into how science underpins plants and gardening. 2019 Discovery displays focused on the latest developments in plant genetics, climate change, invasive plants, recycling, and children’s gardening. Below I highlight two of the Discovery displays.
Floella’s Future by Birmingham City Council was a large circular display that raised awareness of single-use plastic and the need to recycle. Food waste constitutes more than one third of collected waste, much of which can be composted. Small signs in the flower base provided information about the need to recycle and reduce our carbon footprint. The display promoted plant-based alternatives to plastic. Bioplastics made from renewable and sustainable materials such as sugarcane and cornstarch can be broken down completely in water and compost at the end of their use.
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