Chelsea Flower Show countdown

by Jekka McVicar

There are nine weeks to go to the Chelsea Flower Show and we are beginning to feel the pressure.

Hare sundial to be displayed at the Chelsea Flower ShowThere are nine weeks to go to the Chelsea Flower Show and we are beginning to feel the pressure. We are in the final stages of potting up the herbs into their final containers. I have noticed that some of the plants are rushing into flower early, which is causing me some concern as we do not have a cold store here to hold them back. Our floral displays are exactly how they would be in the garden, except that each plant will have been minutely prepared before leaving the farm.

 WoadWoad, Isatis tinctoria, is already starting to form flowering spikes. I find it hard to believe that I have taken this picture outside at the beginning of March, it just shows how strong the light levels have been during February.

Not only is woad a brilliant traditional blue dye plant but it is also an important Chinese medicinal herb, the roots of which are used to treat mumps.

The other aspect of putting on a display in the great floral pavilion is the props to use. Personally I like my displays to resemble a small herb garden and therefore I usually incorporate some form of sculpture into the display. This year I have teamed up with Joanna Migdal. Last year she told me about an amazing sundial she was creating of a hare holding a sundial in his hands.

I could visualise it in my display and asked if we could borrow it. It is being cast in bronze this week which is most exciting. So my next worry is how heavy will it be and how I stop it falling through the display, which is raised off the ground on wooden planks.

With all these worries it's not surprising we say 'never again' after each Chelsea Flower Show. But somehow we forget all our reservations, for it is without doubt the best flower show in the world.

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Gardeners' World Web User 20/03/2008 at 13:16

The Cayman Islands are having their very first 'Garden at Chelsea'. I am so thrilled as I grew up there and remember with great affection the wonderful old Cayman Style House and the sand gardens. Grass lawns did not exist back then. I hope Gardeners' World is able to visit this unique garden, which will also feature the 'Cat boat', used by Caymanian fishermen for hundreds of years.

Gardeners' World Web User 08/04/2008 at 12:50

Hi Cosyma, I'm the Show Manager for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, and it's fantastic to hear from people who are excited about visiting. It's not long to go till we go on site and the final preparations are being made - it's promising to be a spectacular show!

For tickets all you need to do is log on to the RHS website ( and click through to 'Buy Tickets Now', or you can call the ticket hotline number 0870 842 2234. I hope you enjoy it!

Gardeners' World Web User 14/07/2008 at 11:42

Could you tell me about the process of entering a garden for the flower show in 2010? Thank you for all the information you can provide.

Gardeners' World Web User 24/05/2010 at 20:41

Hi Alex. Delighted to see you well and truly involved. Lesley sends her regards too.

Gardeners' World Web User 28/11/2011 at 18:31

hello every body, I want to take my mom to the flower show, i live in holland and want to go. what do i need to do???? thanks for all of your help.