A big blooming history of the Chelsea Flower Show

May 12,2015

As the weather tilts its head towards the more pleasant side of things, we Brits are positively thrilled by the prospect of spring, soon to be summer. And hand in hand with the change in climate come beautiful blossoms and other such lovely flowery things, which means one thing and one thing only - the Chelsea Flower Show is nearly upon us (19th-23rd May 2015). This year is set to be another corker, with a vast range of inspiring gardens to peruse, whilst enjoying a cold glass of Pimm's. Amongst the exhibitions will be the usual innovative designs, each fabulous in its own natural right. From Fernando Gonzalez's white shimmering structures, to Sheena Seeks' aptly named Fragrance Garden, and Prince Harry's authentic tribute to Africa, 2015 is set to live up to expectations. In all the excitement, we got to thinking about the Chelsea Flower Show through the years, and everything that it signifies. Upon doing a little digging, we found out that we might not actually know the most iconic flower show of all time as well as we thought… But do you?

Did you know?

  • Although technically coming up to its 103rd birthday, this year's Chelsea Flower Show will in fact only be the 94th one to occur (or at least since it moved to the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea). This is because the show was called off for several years during both world wars. After the Second World War, there was even scepticism about whether the show would be resumed. Imagine that!
  • The show was postponed for a week in 1926 due to the General Strike.
  • Up until very recently (2013), gnomes were banned from the Chelsea Flower Show. However, certain rebels weren't averse to breaking the rules, and would often try to smuggle them in. Amongst these was Jekka McVicar, who claimed to have her lucky gnome hiding right there in the foliage of her exhibitions for years.
  • Some gardens have turned heads than others through the years, including Paul Cooper's 'Cool and Sexy' exhibition back in 1994. This particular garden featured a grille that blew jets of air up women's skirts, inducing bouts of giggles and gasps as they walked by.
  • Before the year 2000, exhibits were not shown in a pavilion, but under an enormous marquee, which actually earned the title of the world's largest tent by none other than the Guinness Book of Records.
  • It only takes nineteen days for all of the gardens to be built from scratch before the show begins.
  • One stormy night in 1928 staff were forced to work solidly until daybreak due to flooding and damage. The (Chelsea Flower) show must go on!
  • Back in 1979 the turnstiles at the show had to be closed due to mass overcrowding.
  • Overcrowding becoming more and more of a concern, there was talk in 1987 of moving the show out of London altogether.
  • Last year at the show, 1,150 glasses of champagne were drank, 6,400 glass of Pimms were supped, 10,560 hot drinks were consumed, and over 10,000 portions of fish and chips were devoured. Shall we see if we can break the record this year?

Now that we've gotten to know the Chelsea Flower Show a little better, all that's left to do is to grab our best hats and pray for sunshine. See you there, folks!

If you've got tickets to the Chelsea Flower Show and are looking for 5 star hotels in London, the The Chelsea Harbour Hotel is situated in a prime location for getting to the event.

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