The Chelsea Flower Show: Where Heaven Meets Earth

Published June 4, 2015
Updated February 1, 2018
The Chelsea Flower Show

The ‘Time For Tea’ garden, located in the grand pavilion. Source: Jonathan Brady, Associated Press

For many in London, it’s not spring without the Chelsea Flower Show. Long enjoyed by Britain’s upper crust, the Royal Horticultural Society has held the five-day annual event for over a century, and it is considered to be the most important and prestigious flower show in the world.

The Royal Horticultural Society first launched their event in 1833 in Chiswick Gardens, and after a couple moves found a permanent home on the grounds of the Chelsea Royal Hospital. The first officially named Chelsea Flower Show debuted on May 20th, 1913.

The show was briefly suspended during both World Wars, but quickly returned to prominence after each reopening. Popularity has steadily grown over the decades, and each year more than 150,000 people attend. As the following images highlight, this number would undoubtedly be much larger if attendance was not limited due to space constraints:

chelsea flower show buddhism
Display of the Thai Tropical Garden. Source: D.E.Ireland

chelsea flower show dragon
Golden Dragon in the 'Thailand Land of Buddhism' garden. Source: Anthony Devlin, Associated Press

chelsea flower show elephant
An elephant floral sculpture is a children’s favorite. Source: D.E.Ireland

chelsea flower show biscuits
Giant Jammie Dodger biscuits filled with white roses and other flowers. Source: Mark Cuthbert

chelsea flower show car
This flower car shows a whimsical side of a posh affair. Source: D.E.Ireland

chelsea flower show flower keeper
A woman surrounded by flora while making final preparations in one of the gardens. Source: Anthony Devlin, Associated Press

chelsea flower show ice cream
Flower ice cream cones of numerous ‘flavors.’ Source: Anthony Devlin, Associated Press

chelsea flower show asian
Making final adjustments before the visitors are let onto the grounds. Source: Anthony Devlin, Associated Press

chelsea flower show glass room
Cloudy Bay Garden designed by Prince Harry and David Rich. Source: Rex Features, Associated Press

chelsea flower show red dress
Some visitors’ apparel is as colorful as the flowers on display. Source: D.E.Ireland

chelsea flower show umbrella
Even the typical London rain does not put a damper on the attendees' spirits. Source: Tim Ireland, Associated Press

chelsea flower show green woman
Creativity takes many forms among the different gardens on the show grounds. Source: D.E.Ireland

chelsea flower show rainbow
A gorgeous display from the 2011 Chelsea Flower Show. Source: Mashable

chelsea flower show framed flowers
Each display is set up with ultimate precision. Source: Jonathan Brady, Associated Press

chelsea flower show plant dusting
The meticulous work includes dusting the leaves of the plants. Source: Jonathan Brady, Associated Press

chelsea flower show prince harry
Prince Harry's Sentebale garden. Source: Anthony Devlin, Associated Press

chelsea flower show purple
Source: Rex Features, Associated Press

chelsea flower show queen
The Royals are often seen enjoying the show alongside the common people in attendance. Source: D.E.Ireland

chelsea flower show scary
A dragon sculpture overlooking the show grounds. Source: Rex Features, Associated Press

chelsea flower show snowballs
An exotic plant from Prince Harry’s garden is displayed. Source: Anthony Devlin, Associated Press

chelsea flower show suit
People take their floral dedication seriously at the Chelsea Flower Show. Source: Tim Ireland, Associated Press

chelsea flower show vikings
The Viking Ocean Cruise Show Garden comes complete with Norse Gods. Source: Jeff Moore, Associated Press

chelsea flower show wine
The floral bouquets of spring blooms and wine intertwine. Source: Rex Features, Associated Press

The Cancer Research Show Garden designed by Andy Sturgeon has been awarded with a Gold Medal at the Royal Horticultural Society Chelsea Flower Show 2007. Source: Michael Walter/Troika

Erin Kelly
An All That's Interesting writer since 2013, Erin Kelly focuses on historic places, natural wonders, environmental issues, and the world of science. Her work has also been featured in Smithsonian and she's designed several book covers in her career as a graphic artist.
Savannah Cox
Savannah Cox holds a Master's in International Affairs from The New School as well as a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, and now serves as an Assistant Professor at the University of Sheffield. Her work as a writer has also appeared on DNAinfo.