April showers bring May flowers – and this couldn’t be any truer here in London. The count-down to one of the most desired events of the year has just started. The Chelsea Flower Show 2014 is approaching, celebrating the triumph of spring in the city, from the 20th to the 24th of May at the Royal Hospital in the prestigious neighborhood of Chelsea.
Home to the greatest flower show in Britain and one of the most famous in the world, every year the Royal Hospital brings innovative garden designs, emerging trends in gardening and horticulture, new plant varieties, vibrant floral displays to about 160,000 visitors.
The major highlights of this year’s edition will be ornamentations and installations inspired to the theme of war and rebirth; stunning tributes arranged in the Great Pavilion - one of the main attractions of every year’s show edition - as homage to the centenary of the First World War. The gardens will be decorated with collectibles and memorabilia reminiscent of wartime, poppies and trenches representations.
Minor yet highly inspirational displays will include two symbolic charity-supported gardens: Charlotte Rowe’s No Man’s Land, and Hope on the Horizon, possibly this year’s favorite, designed by the young Matthew Keightley, a newbie at the Chelsea Flower Show. His inspirational Military Cross-shaped garden is expected to be spectacular and extremely suggestive, due to the nature of the layout, the concept behind it and, possibly, the degree of personal attachment of the artist - as he mostly took inspiration from his brother’s experience as RAF regiment serviceman in Afghanistan.
His garden is meant to guide visitors through a journey aimed to reach a state of psychological well-being after a devastating experience. “I am using herbs that will release a scent when the soldiers brush past, and plenty of grasses that can be touched”, says the artist to the Telegraph. His words bode well if you are seeking an introspective journey through regeneration.
Memorial gardens are definitely a way to evoke peace and commemorate the remembrance of war victims. Most of all, these gardening displays aim to convey a comforting message of renewal and renaissance, which is done through the clever use of symbolic plants and truthful representations of devastation of natural environments and human souls during wartime. As Charlotte Rowe explains to the Telegraph, No-man’s land is “what today do soldiers should not have to come back to”. By developing the concepts of human spirit’s redemption and environment renovation, Rowe aims to “represent the recovery process through a garden.”
On a brighter note, there’s a whole share of people that are just thrilled at the thought to be shown the exclusive Daffodils dedicated to the little Prince George. That’s right. A whole variety of Daffodils is named after the 9 month-old little princes. What these flowers are will be unveiled in this year’s edition, right before the eyes of the Queen and Prince Philip.
To add up to the whole experience, more diverse eco-friendly displays, from climate change conscious eco-gardens to horticulture demonstrations; this year’s show has a lot of highlights that would take your fancy. Take the Italian garden designer Tommaso del Buono for example, who - together with Paul Gazerwitz - will be bringing some Italian essence into London with their little Italian contemporary garden, inspired to the Italian horticultural tradition and the revisited principles of its culinary philosophy based on simplicity and flavors of nature.
A show-off of nature, health, colors, beauty and peace of mind - all on display at one of the most exclusive flower shows in the world. Definitely a must see if you are in London end of May - but watch out – with over 150,000 visitors every year, tickets sell out quickly! You can purchase yours on from the official website, where you can also get all kind of information on the venue, the designers, and the program. Some visitors also purchase the whole package, inclusive of hotels accommodation in the splendid and fascinating neighborhood of Chelsea. Show tickets are now on sale for £53.06, whereas the whole package options inclusive of overnight hotel stay are priced starting from a minimum of £130-150 per night. There are many offers and deals online though. So with a little research and some luck, you can easily find an affordable option and live this unforgettable experience.