RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2023

It’s the start of the summer season and that can only mean one thing, it’s showtime for some of the UK’s top interior and garden design shows. Reporting from SW3 at the Press Day for The RHS Chelsea Flower Show, 23 to 27 May 2023 (sponsored by The Newt), the blog takes you deep into the borders of the world-class show gardens – with a little reminder of other not-to-be-missed design events this summer.

RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2023

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show is such a visual treat, both for the plants, the gardens and the people watching.

This year’s show had some firsts, including an RHS Chelsea wedding. Newlyweds garden designer Manoj Malde and Clive Gillmor celebrated tying the knot on the beautifully colourful RHS and Eastern Eye Garden of Unity. A fabulous new colour of Agapanthus called ‘Black Jack’ (a rich black/purple) exhibited by Sparsholt College has been named one of the RHS Plants of the Year 2023.

There are gardens which address climate change with drought-tolerant plants and as usual, I couldn’t help but notice a pattern of colour themes and plants emerging. A soft desert palette of burnt oranges, corals, antique and Moroccan pinks as well as vibrant purples were in several gardens as were iris, geums and lupins (and an awful lot of other plants I don’t know the names of!)

This is just a snapshot, there is so much to see and I very much hope that you will either enjoy visiting or watching the show on BBC1 as I will be for the rest of the week.

Difficult to choose but think this might have been my favourite garden at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2023. Inspired by artist-plantsman Cedric Morris and his garden at Benton End with plants including Morris’ Benton Iris is designed by Sarah Price for Nurture Landscape Gardens. Photo: Charis White

Benton Iris in Sarah Price’s Cedric Morris-inspired garden at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2023. Photo: Charis White

Joe Swift and Rachel de Thame waiting for their BBC camera cue. Rachel was wearing a beautiful silk dress delicately decorated with hand painted? flowers. Photo: Charis White
A Mediterranean Garden with outdoor kitchen sponsored by Hamptons in the Sanctuary Gardens section at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2023. Photo: Charis White

Lovely bit of stripey styling in one of the Alitex glass houses at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2023. Photo: Charis White
Pleasing Chard in the Great Pavilion at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2023. Photo: Charis White
Wonderful crown display from Binny Plants, Edinburgh in the Great Pavilion at the Chelsea Flower Show 2023. Photo: Charis White
This new colour of Agapanthus (one of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show Plants of the Year 2023) is much darker than my camera phone allows. It is called Black Jack exhibited by: Sparsholt College (stand GPA008) Show plants supplied by: Thompson & Morgan Breeder: De Wet Breeders. It is a handsome, dark aubergine or black purple in reality. Photo: Charis White
Pretty planting of orange, coral geums with purple/orange highlighted lupins on the Heroines of Horticulture stand in the Great Pavilion. Photo: Charis White
It was lovely to see the RHS and Eastern Eye Garden of Unity where newlyweds Manoj Malde and Clive Gillmor celebrate tying the knot in the first RHS Chelsea wedding. Photo: Charis White
Brightly painted oil barrel as planter in the RHS and Eastern Eye Garden of Unity at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2023. Mixed planting of leeks, wild strawberries and rhubarb. and Photo: Charis White
Gorgeous Iris at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2023. Photo: Charis White
Luxury Shepherd’s hut by Hannam and Taylor (this one was stunning with exterior oak panelling/paint work in a smart dark green and included a copper bath) but it was this sweeping willow woven fence and the addition of an outdoor shower than made this additionally charming. Photo: Charis White
Raj Tent Club have collaborated with the V&A Museum for this glamorous new Chinoiserie-style awning. Photo: Charis White
Rippled rose on the Harkness Rose stand. Photo: Charis White
Absolutely loved the reminder of the importance of insects in gardening with The Royal Entomological Society Garden and the quirky larger than life puppets performed by Fetch Theatre that depicted a dragonfly, ant, hornet and rhino beetle. Photo: Charis White

3 other not-to-be-missed design events:

White Door Brocante

At least one visitor to the White Door Brocante, Benson Parish Hall, Sunnyside, South Oxfordshire, OX1 6LZ (as featured in BBC Homes & Antiques magazine, the Antiques Trade Gazette and The Henley Standard) on Friday 16 June 2023 has promised to rather stylishly arrive at this pretty Thames side village by boat!

But whichever mode of transport you choose to travel to Benson, you can look forward to a wide range of antique and vintage furniture, mirrors, home accessories, textiles and garden accessories. Founder Elise Harris who runs White Door Antiques from her home in Pangbourne has carefully selected a line-up of some of the UK’s top antiques and vintage specialists.

BBC1 Bidding Room personality and White Door Brocante stall holder, Jo Roberts will be giving an inspiring talk at 1 pm on how lockdown provided her with a new career in antiques. The Brocante opens from 10 am to 3 pm with free parking and a pop-up cafe.

This decorative fair is a great place to find well-priced vintage and antique pieces for both home and garden. 10% of the £7 ticket price (available on the door or in advance from the White Door Brocante website) will be donated to the dyslexia charity Helen Arkell.

A selection of vintage/antique gardenalia from Elise Harris, founder of The White Door Brocante, previously featured on the blog. Elise runs White Door Antiques from her home in Pangbourne, Berkshire.

The National Garden Scheme

With the sun finally out after all the rain and slow Spring we have had, I think we are finally in for some real treats with National Garden Scheme visits this year. The scheme selects private gardens up and down the country from urban roof tops to garden oasis built on brown field sites to open their gates to the public for charity. Occasionally you need to book a ticket in advance so check online at The National Garden Scheme.

One of Berkshire’s finest gardens, The Old Rectory, Church Lane, Lower Basildon, Reading, RG8 9NH, (featured previously on the blog) is open from 2 pm to 5 pm on Sunday 2 July 2023 with teas being served in St Bartholomew’s Church. Adults £5, children free.

Wow House!

US interior designer Mark D Sikes who featured on my blog last year in Blue and White House Interiors is one of the designers (sponsored by Iksel) showcasing his work at WOW!house at The Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour, London, 5 June to 6 July 2023. I can’t wait to see his interior design for the Wow House entrance foyer.

Shop the blog

Vintage botanical toleware candle sconce available now in my online vintage shop.

Vintage toleware Italian or French botanical candle sconce available now in my online vintage shop. Photo: Charis White

Thank you

Thank you so much for reading. If you have enjoyed this and would like to receive email alerts for future posts, please just press the free ‘Subscribe’ button either at the beginning or end of a post.

With best wishes,

Charis x

Charis White, Interiors writer (freelance). Photo: Fiona McLean Photography

3 thoughts on “RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2023

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