What No One Tells You About the Chelsea Flower Show

Published on May 30th 2019
Last week, I was lucky enough to go to the Chelsea Flower Show in London.
As I'm quite new to gardening, I spent a lot of time researching what to expect. However, nothing I found quite prepared me for the UK's largest horticultural event.
While you can find advice on how to dress, or which beautiful and inspiring gardens to look out for, I thought I would tell you about the little things which people don't seem to talk about.

The scent at Sloan Square

The moment you step out from the subway at Sloan Square, you walk into a wall of scents filling the London air, from the thousands of flowers residing in the square and surrounding streets.
This year, Chelsea in Bloom (Chelsea’s prestigious annual floral art show) focused on 'Under the Sea' inspired installations. Sloan Square was the scene of a shipwreck, while the nearby shops featured all sorts of delightful installations, from submerging submarines to octopuses and jumping whales.
If you're interested, you can read our full coverage of Chelsea on Bloom here:

There are bees everywhere

During the show, Chelsea becomes a hotspot for bees and other pollinators, which descend upon the 11-acre site in great numbers.
Hundreds of exhibitors bring along tempting plants which serve as tasty treats to nearby bees, which swarm around the colourful flowers in the show gardens and stands.
While the bees seemed to be really enjoying the abundance of flowers, they didn't stop me, or anybody else, from also enjoying the flowers.

You can buy everything except plants (or so I thought)

There are hundreds of exhibitors at the show, selling all sorts of merchandise, everything from plant supporting sticks to plant feed.
But to my surprise, no one actually sells plants during the first five days of the show. Instead, they sell many other types of goods such as gardening tools and flower-themed homeware. If you want to pick up some plants, you have to wait until the very last day.
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On Saturday, at 4 p.m., the show gardens and stalls all give away their award-winning plants. For a purely symbolic amount of money, you can get your hands on a fully grown Fuchsia shrub or a double flowering Lily, just like @Unfknblvbl_nature did.
A cat sitting on a table
Rosie took a lovely Lily home from the show

You will queue

In order to get into some of the most anticipated gardens, you will have to be patient and join a queue of many other interested attendees.
For example, this year, if you wanted to see the Back To Nature Garden, designed by Adam White with the help of HRH Duchess of Cambridge, you may have had to stand in line for over an hour and a half.
While standing in a line may not be how I imagined spending my time at the Chelsea Flower Show, the 30 minutes I spent queuing for the IKEA Show Garden was definitely worth the wait.
View from the IKEA garden
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