Arguably the world’s most famous garden exhibition, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show took place at the end of May. Frequented by horticultural enthusiasts, garden designers, garden builders and celebrities alike, the exhibition showcases the finest show gardens available, resplendent with greenery, flowers and furniture.

About the RHS

The shows are devised and hosted by the Royal Horticultural Society, who own four gardens around the country: Wisley (Surrey), Harlow Carr (North Yorkshire), Hyde Hall (Essex) and Rosemoor (Devon). The Society aims to promote and encourage education about gardening and plants, from children to adults, offering qualifications ranging from Level 1 Award in Practical Horticulture to the pinnacle of certifications, the Master of Horticulture accreditation.

It also promotes the Britain in Bloom initiative, which brings horticultural experiences to over 1,000 urban and rural communities through a competition which challenges groups of all sizes to create wildlife habitats, maintain conservation areas and ‘green up’ grey community spaces.

At the show, there are awards to be won for those who wow the judges with their gardening skill. There are a number of categories for entrants to focus their attentions on, including:

  • Best Show Garden
  • Best Space to Grow Garden
  • Best Artisan Garden

There are also individual awards for the best florist, young florist and future florist, as well as awards for the best plant and discovery exhibit.


The gardens themselves are judged against various criteria as well as a written brief from the designer. The purpose of the brief is a measuring stick for the garden – does it meet the points and aims laid out in the brief and would it satisfy the client? The brief will include:

  • Garden description
  • Garden purpose
  • Garden function
  • Key features and plants

Adherence to the brief is crucial – no matter how the garden looks, if it doesn’t meet the points on the brief, it will lose marks.

The overall criteria used by judges are as follows:

  • Ambition – the level of originality in the garden, including the presence of ‘theatre, atmosphere, flair and impact’
  • Design – whether or not the garden is fit for its designated purpose
  • Construction – the quality of the build itself
  • Planting – the composition of the plants, from the colour to the layout, as well as ensuring that each combination of plants would survive in the same ecosystem
  • Overall impression – how the garden works as an overall project

How to watch

While a garden exhibit might not sound like a traditional choice of programming on mainstream TV, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show is something of an institution, and it is shown on the BBC every year.

How to exhibit

If you would like to showcase your garden, floristry or design at one of the RHS’ flower shows, you need to fill out an application form on their website.

The shows put on by the RHS are of the utmost prestige, and Outdoor Options are delighted to have won gold medals at the Chelsea Flower Show in 2011 and 2014, as well as a gold medal at the Chatsworth Flower Show in 2017. We look forward to continuing our success at these shows, displaying our ability to horticulturalists and fans of garden design for years to come.

Outdoor Options are award-winning landscapers, providing unmatched skill and expertise for gardens throughout Surrey and the surrounding areas. From soft landscaping to swimming pools and garden buildings, we do it all, and we’re always happy to help. Get in touch with us today to find out more.

Scroll to Top