This year’s RHS Chelsea Flower (21-26 September, 2021) unveils a new category for balcony gardens and container gardens, which will provide inspiration and ideas for small space gardening.
Balconies have been a lifeline for thousands over the course of the pandemic and the new category, a first at this year’s historic autumn event, will promote the benefits of plants for our health and the environment.
Lush evergreens interspersed with rainbow colours and exotic touches feature along with herbs, chillies, fruit trees and other edibles. Drought-tolerant, pollinator-friendly planting and seasonal favourites like berries, seed-heads and dahlias will also be on display.
A prominent theme of the category is how to turn a balcony into a calming space to escape and relax in using an abundance of plants and vegetation that will create a sense of being immersed in nature.
The ‘Green Sky Pocket Garden’ by James Smith is an oasis away from busy city life. Martha Krempel’s ‘Arcadia’ garden features subtropical planting and an idyllic painted backdrop and Michael Coley’s ‘Sky Sanctuary’ uses a colour scheme of soft pastels and greens.
Coley also uses recycled plastic as the garden’s main material element. Ideas to design your balcony sustainably and support wildlife feature throughout the designs.
The ‘Balcony of Blooms’ has been designed by Alexandra Noble who is known for using planting schemes to support biodiversity. The garden will feature blooms for pollinators and culinary herbs and aims to show how small spaces can be productive, practical and enchanting.
Yellows and purples will dominate the colour scheme of ‘The Landform Balcony Garden’ designed by Nicola Hale as the two colours are most attractive to bees. Nicola hopes visitors will be inspired to add habitat to the wildlife corridors in UK cities.
Another new category ‘Container Gardens’ is targeted at the increasing number of people choosing to use containers to maximise their outdoor space at home and for people who rent and want to take their gardens with them when they move whilst also providing inspiration for local councils looking to incorporate nature into public spaces.
The 4 by 3 metre spaces feature an array of container styles from repurposed IBC containers planted to resemble tiny forests to hand built ceramics, powder-coated metal and galvanised zinc containers full of lush, playful and exotic planting.
Helena Pettit, RHS Director of Gardens and Shows says: “We are really excited to introduce these two new garden categories to the show this year, following the huge resurgence in gardening during the pandemic. We want to show the thousands who visit the world’s greatest flower show and the millions who watch the BBC coverage at home just what you can do with next to no outdoor space.”
The ten gardens in these two new categories have been designed by first time RHS Chelsea Flower Show designers, those in the Container Garden category are recent garden design graduates and are being mentored throughout the process by multi-ward winning RHS Chelsea designer Paul Hervey-Brookes.
Limited tickets to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show are still available and can be purchased online at www.rhs.org.uk/chelsea
Main Image: Landform Balcony, Balcony Garden designed by Nicola Hale, sponsored by Landform Consultants Ltd. RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021.
2. The Stolen Soul Garden, Container Garden designed by Anna Dabrowska-Jaudi. RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021.