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Postcards from Chelsea: our favourite things 2024

Every year we just love our week in the horticultural wonderland that is the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. From all the fabulous, enthralling and inspiring things we saw at the show, here are our favourite things from the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2024.
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Postcards from Chelsea: our favourite things 2024
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Postcards from Chelsea: our favourite things 2024

Every year we just love our week in the horticultural wonderland that is the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. We love seeing our stand come together after all the months of planning, and we love meeting the gardeners who use and love our tools. But we're also so lucky to get the chance to explore the show, seeing it in the cool of the early morning, during the hubbub of the day, and then seeing it calm again as the visitors go home.

From all the fabulous, enthralling and inspiring things we saw at the show, here are our favourite things from the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2024.

The rainbow
We’d helped out the team behind Flood Re: The Flood Resilient Garden (see top image) with some tools for the build, so naturally we were keen to see the finished garden. Water was a theme in many of the gardens this year’s show; managing it, coping with the lack of it – or suddenly having too much of it. And this garden designed by Naomi Slade and Dr Ed Barsley brought it all together in the context of a domestic family garden. Featuring a stream, a feature pond and large water storage tanks doubling as ornamental ponds, the garden was a luxuriant and colourful space, with areas to relax and enjoy the ambience. We especially liked the ‘rain’ which gently fell on the garden at regular intervals during the day to demonstrate how the garden copes with deluges. We saw it on a sunny day, when the falling droplets generated a dancing rainbow amongst the blooms. It was just delightful, and we loved it!

The water dragon
We’ve picked driftwood sculptor James Doran-Webb’s incredible work as one of our Chelsea Favourite Things before, in 2019. But his work just gets more and more astonishing, so it needs to be included again. This enormous Water Dragon towered over the crowds on Main Avenue, stopping visitors in their tracks. Water cascaded from the globe clutched in its talons, plumes of smoke rose from its nostrils. Officially entitled ‘The Bearer of Infinite Blessings’, the sculpture stands a huge 6.2m high and weighs three tonnes. We can only imagine the huge effort that went into installing it on Main Avenue – but we certainly appreciated it being there.

The ‘RHS Chelsea Repurposed’ Garden by Cityscapes
Sustainability is no longer simply a theme at RHS Chelsea. Rather, it has evolved into a commitment which underscores all the exhibits at the show. This year’s ‘RHS Chelsea Repurposed’ show garden was created with the purpose of reusing and recycling existing materials. Nearly everything in the garden has lived at least one life already, much of it at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. We had fun spotting elements from gardens we’ve loved in previous years – including Tom Massey’s Lemon Tree Trust Islamic-inspired fountain, which was right next to our stand at RHS Chelsea in 2018. The planting in this repurposed garden featured drought-tolerant species, including grasses and local wildflowers, all planted in crushed concrete and sand salvaged from demolished buildings. What’s more, at the end of the show, every element of the garden was to go on to enjoy yet another new life.


The colour!
Some years at RHS Chelsea seem to be all about a restful palette, with lots of greens, blues and whites. In contrast, this year was all about the colour! We may have been influenced by spending the week next to Ann-Marie Powell’s fabulously vibrant The Octavia Hill Garden. But it seemed to us that everywhere we looked, there were bursts of colour – oranges, deep reds, purples, and yellows. We loved these floral fireworks, as they blazed in the sunshine, and brightened up the gloomy days.

The ‘mgr Changing Tides Garden’
We found this garden to be very evocative. Tucked away in the leafy heart of the Ranelagh Gardens area of the show, it’s difficult to capture anything other than a woodland feel, but this clever container garden transported us to the windswept coastal margins. With Derek Jarman’s garden at Prospect Cottage in Dungeness firmly on our ‘must-visit’ list, we’re fascinated by the resilient plants which find a way to burst into colourful life in even the most challenging of conditions. The Changing Tides garden, designed by Lucy Mitchell, perfectly illustrated this unstoppable life force, feeling verdant and relaxing. We loved the use of ‘beachy’ recycled materials, including the reclaimed timber groyne backdrop, and the crushed whelk shells used as a planting medium. A well-deserved gold medal garden for this garden.

The Surreal Succulents stand
We’re suckers for succulents, and every year the Surreal Succulents stand in the Great Pavilion is a must-visit. Since the team there provided an array of gorgeous planting for our Chelsea stand back in 2019, they’ve been very much on our radar. Every year the stand looks like some kind of sci-fi landscape, with otherworldly plants looming on towering stalks, cascading over the sides of their planters, and reaching out spikily. The array of shapes, colours and textures is always inspiring, and makes us feel a little like a kid in a sweet shop. This year’s display once again won the Surreal Succulent team a gold medal to take home to Cornwall. And yes, we may have come away with one or two new succulent babies to take home ourselves!

And then it was all over, with the gardens being dismantled to go to their new lives, and tired but happy visitors carrying, wheeling, or dragging their purchases back to the Tube. We're already looking forward to our return next year!

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