The RHS Chelsea Flower Show (May 21st — May 25th) is one of the biggest events in the gardening calendar, so it’s no wonder it plays a huge role in influencing plant and flower trends.
We’ve visited this year’s show to see for ourselves the flowers, plants and materials set to inspire our own gardens throughout 2019.
RHS Chelsea Flower Show trends 2019
1. Bee conscious gardens
The plight of the bee was greatly acknowledged with the help of the McQueens ‘Per Oculus Apum’. The canopy cascading across the entrance tunnel was a striking display, which cleverly used UV paint on the flowers – evocative of how bees see flowers in ultra-violet.
The installation aims to educate visitors as to how bees see flowers, and realise the crucial role that they play in producing a third of the food we eat. The display emphasises the importance of nurturing the bee population, encouraging us to join the campaign to save bees in our own gardens.
We this revelation we learnt that the key to inviting more bees to your garden is planting more blue flowers.
McQueens Flowers collaborated with Dr David Lawson, bee behaviourist at the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Bristol, to gain insight into bees’ behaviour – and their relationship with flowers.
2. Architectural frames and metal work
Framed with spectacular soaring pavilions the striking Wedgwood garden, designed by Jo Thompson, is a prime example of mixed materials and architectural structures in gardens. The garden is brought to life by a connecting stream.
The Silver Gilt garden features beautifully contrasting surfaces and textures. They are used alongside delicate decorative metalwork and artfully placed sculptures.
The Savills and David Harber gardens, designed by Andrew Duff featured magnificent metal sculptures. Standing tall in among the tranquil garden foliage, the fine artwork creates a real focal point. The metal material catches the light beautifully, while providing a glimmering reflection on the surrounding water.
3. Wellness water features
Water features are making a real splash in today’s gardens. Water has a wonderful ability to make you feel calm and relaxed in the garden.
One of the most impressive examples on show was by the gold medal winning ‘Welcome to Yorkshire’ garden. This superb garden takes water features to a whole new level. Overall it’s the sense of tranquillity associated with incorporating water within your garden space. Perhaps in a more imaginative way, for the modern garden.
Warner’s Distillery Garden, designed by Helen Elks-Smith has water at its very heart. It has been designed using a sequence of structures and techniques to create multiple water features, which run quietly through different areas of the garden.
The clever design creates gentle arcs and streams before they emerge again in the garden. Helen’s garden is inspired by the natural springs on the site of Warner’s Gin Distillery, in Northamptonshire.
The Trailfinders ‘Undiscovered Latin America’ garden, designed by Jonathan Snow, featured a spectacular cascading wall of water. The sound of moving water provides a meditative, soothing experience. It’s use in a garden is thought to create the perfect space to escape the frenetic pace of everyday life, to gain a moment of peaceful tranquillity.
4. Embracing sustainable living
The grow you own movement is rapidly gaining pace. We are becoming hyper aware of how we can each make a small difference , to ensure a big impact on sustainable living. To highlight the importance of home-grown, IKEA have created a garden entitled ‘Gardening will Save the World. The simple aim is to explore alternative, local and more sustainable ways of growing food – essential to sustain our lives in our current climate.
The garden demonstrates how people can contribute to the movement of growing at home, therefore making a difference by reducing food waste.
Tom Dixon says, ‘As part of the Chelsea Flower Show, we have designed and realised an experimental model for growing plants in the urban environment. Aiming to give back to cities and create productive landscapes within urban zones, the garden includes a raised modular landscape with edible and medicinal plants. Along with an enclosed based garden fuelled by hydroponic systems and controllable lighting.’
‘For IKEA, this project is about bringing attention to the future of the environment and the importance of growing food locally,’ explains James Futcher, Creative Leader at IKEA Range and Supply. ‘ We want to create smart solutions to encourage people and make it easier to grow plants themselves anywhere they can. Whether that’s in their community garden, rooftop or in containers on balconies and window sills.’
5. Planting resilient gardens
This continuing trend for 2019, takes gardens back to a more natural state. We saw many garden designers at Chelsea experimented with wildflower and perennial meadows. One of the most prominent gardens for this trend was ‘The Resilience Garden’. Designed by Sarah Eberle this stunning garden explores how we can build gardens that can withstand climate.
The garden filled with natural planting and experimental plants looks to explore how forests and gardens can be made more resilient, to changes posed by pets and diseases – in addition to climate change.
6. Tremendous tree houses
The dream for every garden, the perfect place to retreat away from the world. Tree houses had a significant presence this year at the flower show. The grand gardens by Blue Forest in collaboration with Chewton Glen brilliantly incorporated elegant tree houses that made us want to return to our childhoods. The stunning tree house was nestle among a striking planting scheme by Architectural Plants, a renowned nursery with an enthusiasm for quirky planting ideas.
The interiors are so luxurious, you’d never think they belong to a tree house.
Following the Chelsea Flower Show, the tree house will be transported to its new home in the grounds of Chewton Glen – providing a fabulous home for the hotel’s children’s club.
7. Diverse new plants
Named as the Chelsea Plant of the Year 2019, the Sedum Atlantis is the plant we will all be planting from here on.
Sedum takesimense Atlantis (‘Nonsitnal’) is an attractive, easy to grow, versatile and multi-functional plant. It forms 30cm high cushions of variegate foliage, topped with yellow flowers from June to September.
This drought resistance, is robust and highly attractive to insect pollinators. This Plant of the Year was discovered on the banks of Lake Michigan by grower Dave Mackenzie, who specialises in plants for ground cover, green roofs and walls.
8. The presence of wood
From timber cladding and log walls to impressive driftwood sculptures, there was a lot of external wood on show this year at Chelsea. This versatile natural material added something rather charming to many of the garden schemes.
This magnificent tortoise was just one of the many fabulous sculptures by driftwood sculptor James Doran.
The top 5 Chelsea favourites by Wyevale Garden Centres
Wyevale Garden Centres predict which easy-to-grow flowers and plants featuring in the show will fly off the shelves, as keen gardeners try to recreate the iconic Chelsea Flower Show looks at home.
1. David Austin Roses
Who doesn’t love a classic English rose? Two new David Austin Roses — famed for the beauty and fragrance — will be unveiled at Chelsea this year, and these are set to prove a hit with the green-fingered among us. Trending rose colours that are forecasted to take Chelsea by storm include deeper shades of pink and pastel apricots and yellows.
2. Ficinia ‘ice crystal’
The 2019 edition of the Chelsea Flower Show sees a focus on texture, and this clump-forming evergreen perennial with its white edging couldn’t fit the brief anymore closely. This plant will work easily as well in patio pots as it does mixed borders and needs to be well-watered in order to thrive.
3. Alstroemeria (Peruvian lily)
This hardy and surprisingly easy-to-grow flower has proved popular year after year. Blooming from May until the first frost this exotic flower can be enjoyed as a garden staple across the seasons.
4. Salvia ‘love and wishes’
This year French lavender and rosemary are banned from Chelsea. As a result, this fragrant sage plant is predicted to gain ground in 2019. The perennial flower features flower spikes in red and purple above small aromatic foliage. It’s an ideal choice for containers and pots in the summer as it’s fairly drought resistant.
The creator of The Facebook Garden, Joe Perkins, made this Instagram-worthy flower pride of place in his Chelsea Design. This striking plant can reach a height and spread of 45cm sq, with plenty of sunshine.
‘Chelsea Flower Show is a highlight on the calendar for the gardening community,’ explains Julian Palphramand, Plant Buyer at Wyevale Garden Centres. ‘Last year we witnessed a huge demand from customers wanting to ‘get the Chelsea look’. We have curated a section in centres that brings together show-stoppers suited to all garden styles and sizes.’
Joe goes on to say, ‘ ‘Beloved classics will continue to make their way into the limelight. We expect to see increased sales of foxgloves, geraniums, delphiniums and irises, which will feature in abundance at Chelsea. As well as paperplants, ferns, hydrangeas and New Zealand flax. With the removal of oak, olive and almond trees at this year’s show, acers and birches are expected to move into the forefront.’
Will you be adding any of the above flowers to your garden collection?