Some Facts About the RHS Chelsea Flower Show

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Chelsea Flower Show is held in May each year. I have attended most years since 1968.

Dr Dinah Parums at the petunia wall. Chelsea Flower Show

Dr Dinah Parums at the petunia wall. Chelsea Flower Show

The show was originally called the Royal Horticultural Society’s Great Spring Show, and was first held in 1862, at the RHS garden in Kensington. But in 1888 this venue closed and the Show moved to Temple Gardens near the Embankment; it was held under canvas at this venue until 1911.

In 1912, the Temple Show made way for the Royal International Horticultural Exhibition. The nurseryman, Sir Harry Veitch secured the grounds of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea and the Great Spring Show was moved there in 1913, where it has taken place almost every year since.

The Show was cancelled during the 2nd WW, because the War Office needed the land for an anti-aircraft site. It returned in 1947.

In 1926 the organizers decided to postpone the show due to the General Strike. It was held a week later. In 1928, a storm devastated the site the night before the grand opening. Until 2000, they site housed a giant marquee which featured in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s largest tent. The old tent was transformed into 7,000 bags, aprons and jackets.

The ‘Show Gardens’ are been built from scratch in just 19 days and are dismantled in only five days.

Until 2013, gnomes were banned from the RHS Chelsea Flower.

Hillier Nurseries holds the record for the greatest number of Chelsea Golds: 66 as of 2014.