I'm a novice gardener and I can't wait to add these 3 plants to my garden after visiting the RHS Chelsea Flower Show

I'll be adding these to my garden centre trolley this weekend

orange geum flowers next to white foxgloves planted in a border in front of a black fence
(Image credit: Future PLC/Heather Young)

I visited the RHS Chelsea Flower Show for the first time last year, and I credit it with igniting an unexpected but very welcome interest in gardening and a brand new hobby.

As a pretty clueless gardener before this (despite owning four different gardens, I had never caught the gardening bug), I had no idea what to expect, but everything I saw blew me away. I loved seeing the incredible gardens and trends in person, and Hampton's Mediterranean Sanctuary Garden even influenced me to create my very own gravel garden just a few weeks later.

Since then I have developed a genuine interest in gardening, so I was very excited to step through the gates into this year's show, armed with a little more knowledge and ready to be inspired all over again.

Lush green border next to a black fence planted with ferns, geranium and lupin

My woodland-inspired garden border

(Image credit: Future PLC/Heather Young)

I wasn't disappointed, especially when I discovered that one of the biggest trends at RHS Chelsea this year is woodland planting, which is a theme I have already been embracing in my garden at home.

My own woodland garden planting scheme includes silver birch trees, various types of fern, spreading geraniums, allium and hydrangea. Encouraged by what I saw at Chelsea earlier this week, there are a few more plants I'm desperate to add to my borders. I'm planning to head straight to the garden centre this weekend, and these are the Chelsea Flower Show flowers that I'll be buying.

1. Foxgloves

Close up of a white foxglove with grasses and pond in the background

(Image credit: Future PLC/Heather Young)

I do already have a couple of foxgloves (also known as digitalis pupurea) in my garden, but it wouldn't be an understatement to say they were everywhere at Chelsea, so I think I need to add more to my borders now.

Last summer I loved watching the bees venturing into the bell-like blooms (they're great for bee friendly gardens), and they flowered twice for me. They're also my mum's favourite flower, and she's a brilliant gardener, so I have plenty of reasons to jump on the foxglove bandwagon.

Since planting my foxgloves last year, I've also learnt that they are biennial (for novices like me, that means they flower one year, and seed the next), so the ones I planted last year won't flower this summer.

And so if I want to enjoy the blooms in my borders in the next few weeks, I need to get some extra foxgloves in pronto. I plan to buy some plants this weekend, and it's also the right time to sow foxglove seeds, so I'll be growing some from scratch too.

2. Geum

orange geum flowers next to white foxgloves planted in a border in front of a black fence

(Image credit: Future PLC/Heather Young)

The great thing about being a novice gardener is that I have so much to discover and learn! I actually didn't know of geum before going to Chelsea Flower Show this week, but this pretty flower was one of the most talked-about blooms at the show. With its semi-evergreen foliage, geum has a really long flowering season, so it's perfect for adding pops of colour to your borders or pots.

My borders are largely green with subtle accents of white, pale pink and purple flowers, so I'll be looking for a pale pink or peach geum (Mai Tai is my current front runner) to add to my trolley. These colours are less common, as geum is more often seen in orange, red or yellow but those colours are a little bright for my own garden colour palette.

Like every other gardener I speak to, I'm engaged in a constant battle with slugs and snails to stop them munching their way through my favourite plants. I'm hoping for a more successful time with my hostas this year, and have employed many of the common ways to get rid of slugs in the hope I'll keep them at bay. I've been told that geum is said to be slug resistant (one to add to my list of bedding plants that slugs hate) which is music to my ears.

3. Irises

Bronze coloured irises growing in a border with wooden bench in background

(Image credit: Future PLC/Heather Young)

In a sign of how much more confident I am as a gardener, I'm ready and raring to introduce irises to my garden. I remember seeing them across the show last May, but felt like I wouldn't know where to start with planting them myself. So when I saw them popping up all over the gardens in Chelsea this week, I knew it was a sign to me to give them a go.

I don't know why I was so scared of them, because irises are actually really easy to grow. I want to use them to add height to my borders, as well as eye-catching flowers and extra layers of colour.

When I pop to my local garden centre I'll be on the lookout for spring-flowering and summer-flowering irises so I can plant up both. That way I'll get to enjoy the flowers for as long as possible. I'll also be adding Chelsea Flower Show supremo Monty Don's pixie irises to my shopping list.

I'm counting down the hours to my next garden centre trip. What will you be planting this weekend?

Heather Young

Heather Young has been Ideal Home’s Editor since late 2020, and Editor-In-Chief since 2023. She is an interiors journalist and editor who’s been working for some of the UK’s leading interiors magazines for over 20 years, both in-house and as a freelancer.