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Here's everything you need to know about the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021

·11-min read

The RHS Chelsea Flower show is finally back for an in-person event for the first time since 2019. The Chelsea Flower Show was cancelled for 2020 but the RHS has since announced that this year's event would be moved.

Instead of taking place in May, as was initially planned, it has been moved to September and kicked off on Monday 20 September with plenty of exciting gardens, Autumn plants and exhibits to see.

In place of last year's event, the RHS ran the first Virtual Chelsea Flower Show which has returned this year in the usual May slot while we await the main show this Autumn.

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

For the first time in its history, the Chelsea Flower Show is running for six days, with a reduced number of visitors each day.

Here's everything we know about the September 2021 Chelsea Flower Show as it's been happening so far...

When is the Chelsea Flower Show 2021?

The 2021 show, which would have taken place between 18 and 23 May, has been moved to run from 21 to 26 September at The Royal Hospital, Chelsea.

In addition to the new autumn show, the RHS held its Virtual Chelsea Flower Show online, during the May show week.

Due to increased social distancing measures and a reduction in the amount of visitors the show can accommodate at any one time, RHS has decided to run the show for an extra day in 2021.

For the first time in its 108 year history, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show will run for six days this autumn, instead of five.

Photo credit: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS - Getty Images
Photo credit: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS - Getty Images

What are the Chelsea Flower Show 2021 opening times

The show opens from 8am until 8pm on Tuesday 21 to Saturday 25 September. It will then be open to visitors from 8am until 5.30pm on Sunday 26 September for this year's event.

Where is the Chelsea Flower Show 2021?

The Chelsea Flower Show takes place in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea in London. The nearest tube stop is Sloane Square, which is approximately a 10 minute walk from the show ground.

How much are Chelsea Flower Show tickets?

Photo credit: Luke MacGregor
Photo credit: Luke MacGregor

Tickets prices for members are from £66.75 and the cost for non-members start at £83.75.

How to get Chelsea Flower Show tickets

Chelsea Flower Show tickets for 2021 are currently available to buy online.


Some tickets are only available to RHS members, who receive advance entry to the event.

This year, the show will see 140,000 visitors across six days, compared to 168,500 across five days in 2019.

This is due to a reduced number of tickets available per day, ensuring the show can run safely and adhere to government guidelines surrounding social distancing.

How do I become an RHS member?

If you would like to become an RHS member ahead of the Chelsea Flower Show 2021, simply visit the RHS website to sign up now.

You can enjoy unlimited days out in the RHS' five gardens, exclusive access to shows and expert advice, while helping support its charitable work.

Individual membership currently costs from £48.75 per year if you pay by Direct Debit or £65 if not.


Joint membership costs from £71.25 per year if you pay by Direct Debit, or £95 if not.


What can I see at the Chelsea Garden Show 2021?

Much of the Chelsea Garden Show 2021 have now been announced, with snippets of information and previews available since the Virtual Chelsea Flower Show earlier this year.

This year the Chelsea Flower show will be divided up into sections including the Show Gardens, the Artisan Gardens, Sanctuary Gardens and more, even including Container Gardens and a Houseplant Studio.

Below, we bring you snippets of some of the main gardens or you can see our full round-up of all the Chelsea Flower Show winners in our dedicated list of medalists.

Chelsea Flower Show: The Show Gardens

In 2019, the winner of the best show garden was The M&G garden, designed by Andy Sturgeon. This year, it was the Guangzhou Garden.

WINNER: Best in Show - Guangzhou China: Guangzhou Garden

Designed by Peter Chmiel and Chin-Jung Chen, this garden "promotes the benefits of responsible city planning and landscape stewardship highlighting how the health and wellbeing of people and the natural world can be sustained through integrated environmental systems."

Peter told Good Housekeeping, "The main message in this garden is about...bringing people and nature together in the city, but also making it work for us. Everything in here is very sustainable, but very interrelated.

So the 'green lung' at the back of the garden is cleaning the air. There's the social heart section - the pollination garden with the wildlife, and the area called the 'blue kidney.' All those plants are purifying and cleaning the water."

In an exclusive video featured at the top of this article, Peter gives us a tour of the blue kidney section of his award-winning garden.

M&G Garden - gold medalist

Photo credit: Harris Bugg Studio
Photo credit: Harris Bugg Studio

This year, the M&G garden will be designed by Charlotte Harris and Hugo Bugg and will feature industrial metal structures, water, biodiverse planting and more.

The Yeo Valley Organic Garden - gold medalist

Tom Massey is creating this garden with support from Sarah Mead, Creative Director at Yeo Valley Organic. It's designed to be "nature-filled experience incorporating a diverse range of habitats and plants" found in Somerset.

Trailfinders' 50th Anniversary Garden - gold medalist

Designed by Jonathan Snow, this garden reflects Nepal and the Himalayan mountains, including a pergola, stone paths and water driven prayer wheels.

The Florence Nightingale Garden - A Celebration of Modern Day Nursing - silver medalist

The Florence Nightingale Garden is being created by Robert Myers around the theme of "nurture through nature" in honour of the 200th anniversary of Nightingale's birth last year.

Call the Midwife's Helen George read a poem called I Speak for Nurses Everywhere to celebrate the opening of the garden, which is being moved to St Thomas' Hospital permanently in Spring next year, so it can be enjoyed by NHS staff and patients.

Designer Robert Myers told Good Housekeeping the garden would be a "legacy of permanent celebration of Florence well as a place for a much needed little green space within the hospital."

He explained that pressed flowers Florence Nightingale had collected herself were included in printed designs on the walls along with words from her letters. Her favourite flowers were foxgloves, which were included in the garden to her honour, as were plants with medicinal qualities.

Chelsea Flower Show: The Artisan Gardens

Photo credit: Tim Sandall
Photo credit: Tim Sandall

The Artisan Gardens are smaller than the Main Avenue show gardens.

In 2019, the Green Switch Garden by Kazuyuki Ishihara, a Japanese-style structure, won the Gold medal.

Guide Dogs' 90th Anniversary Garden - silver medalist

This anniversary garden for 2021 by Adam Woolcott and Jonathan Smith combines sensory elements and sculpture to convey the journey of someone with sight loss.

The Blue Diamond Forge Garden - silver medalist

This design was inspired by a National Trust forge in Devon and hope to demonstrate "how heritage and traditions have been retained whilst simultaneously embracing modern needs without losing its artisan qualities."

Chelsea Flower Show: Sanctuary Gardens

These gardens are designed to convey an element of peace, recuperation or tranquility from the busyness of modern life.

Finding Our Way: An NHS Tribute Garden - silver medalist

Photo credit: Chelsea Flower Show
Photo credit: Chelsea Flower Show

Naomi Ferrett-Cohen's NHS Tribute Garden is designed to honour the work of healthcare workers over the course of the pandemic, reflecting themes of "connectedness and collaboration."

Bible Society: The Psalm 23 Garden - gold medalist

The Psalm 23 Garden seeks to create a place of belonging. Designed by Sarah Eberle, it should be "a place of escape to re-engage with nature, a place to strengthen mental health and wellbeing."

Finnish Soul Garden - A Nordic Heritage Seaside Garden

This design is inspired by a Helsinki seaside garden and aims to be a "haven for relaxation, recuperation and recreation," designed by Taina Suonio.

The Calm of Bangkok

Mr Tawatchai Sakdikul and Miss Ploytabtim Suksang are the designers behind this display which aims to bring together the busy city life of Thailand's capital city with the rich and peaceful local culture.

The Parsley Box Garden - silver medalist

Alan Williams' garden is inspired by a Nordic restaurant and has sustainability as its core focus. It was packed with edible flowers, herbs and fruit trees and a whole kitchen section complete with gadgets.

"I wanted to create a garden that probably isn't a garden that people would expect," Alan Williams told Good Housekeeping. "It's a fresh take on a kitchen garden. But it has a purpose. And actually, why not try these ways of mixing your perennials with your edibles, with your vegetables?"

The Boodles Secret Garden - silver-gilt medalist

Thomas Hoblyn's garden is inspired by the classic children's book, The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson-Burnett and will include an intricately carved oak wall which conceals the vibrant garden within.

Photo credit: Jack Taylor - Getty Images
Photo credit: Jack Taylor - Getty Images

Chelsea Flower Show: Balcony Gardens

Proving you don't need to have a large garden to grow beautiful plants and displays, the balcony garden category will see a range of competitors create compact showcases which don't require acres of space.

Chelsea Flower Show: House Plant Studio

The House Plant Studios showcase indoor plants, which have become increasingly popular not only for their style but also for their wellbeing benefits.

This is the first year houseplants have been included at Chelsea and the very first winner was announced as N1 Garden Centre, with a house plant studio designed by Paul Holt.

Paul told Good Housekeeping that he wanted to embrace Autumn and inspire people to get creative with their houseplants.

He said he had created a display "to try and inspire people to not just necessarily have your rubber plant in your pot on your windowsill, but to do something a bit more with it. Bring some leaves in with some pumpkins or squashes and just try and make a feature of them, so that you're not getting bored.

"Swap the pots around a bit to display it differently. Levels are nice. Move them around your house and try rejuvenating."

Chelsea Flower Show: Container Gardens

Like the balcony gardens collection, container gardens will prove how beautiful displays can be cultivated even without solid ground to work with. Using pots of all shapes and sizes, the gardens will provide a modern take on horticultural which is more accessible to everyone.

Chelsea Flower Show: The Great Pavilion

Photo credit: Barcroft Media - Getty Images
Photo credit: Barcroft Media - Getty Images

One of the highlights of the Chelsea Flower Show, the Great Pavilion was due to feature a new section called The RHS Potting Shed in 2020.

We know that for 2021 there will be a huge number of exhibitors present, with everyone from plant nurseries to city councils displaying. There will also be a huge range of tradestands available for purchasing all the best garden products.

Chelsea Flower Show: Plant of the Year competition

To mark 10 years of the Plant of the Year competition, in 2020 Chelsea Flower Show named its 'Plant of the Decade'.

The ten past Plant of the Year winners battled it out for the prestigious title in a people's choice vote, and one came out on top.

Taking that top spot was 2015 winner Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosum Kilimanjaro Sunrise ('Jww5').

Chelsea Flower Show: Floristry and Floral Design Competition

The 2021 will see an exciting competition for florists which will have competitors creating either window displays or larger instalments around specific themes.

The overarching message of the competition is "Our World," which is broken down into categories such as "British Blooms" and "Preservation", for which displays will be portraying particular messages.

You can see our full guide to the RHS Chelsea Floristry and Floral Design competition where we share all the plans from the prospective designers taking part and reveal the winners.

Chelsea Flower Show 2021 safety measures

The RHS has announced a number of safety measures that will be implemented throughout the Chelsea Flower Show in 2021.

These measures include:

  • Socially Distanced Queuing

  • Extra Parking/park and ride

  • Crowd modelling and increased circulation and space changes to spread popular areas

  • Enhanced cleaning and waste disposal

  • Cashless transactions where possible

  • Increased monitoring to ensure safe distancing amongst visitors

  • Masks in indoor areas

  • Flexible ticket exchange for ticket holder experiencing symptoms

  • Track and trace check-in as per the guidance during show week

There will also be a reduction in the number of closed seated restaurants open. Any restaurants that are open will have spaced seating and table service.

Helena Pettit, Director of RHS Shows and Gardens said: "We’ve consulted with the emergency services and all safety stakeholders involved with Chelsea Flower Show and everyone is confident in our plans and happy with the work we have done. Alongside the additional Covid Safety measures, in-ground daily numbers will be reduced and we are pleased to have been able to add an extra day.

"We are looking forward to working with our exhibitors and contractors to welcome visitors to the Show next year and bringing the world’s greatest gardening event back."

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