Our trends predictions for RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2024 

chelsea flower show trends

As spring breathes new life into the great outdoors, anticipation builds for one of the most celebrated events in the horticultural calendar (and our favourite week of the year!), the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Renowned for its breathtaking displays, innovative designs and trendsetting creations, the show never fails to captivate gardening enthusiasts and professionals alike. As we look ahead to this year’s showcase of floral excellence, check out our predictions for what to expect. 

Water conservation and management

The threat of climate change has put water management at the forefront of garden design. With an increasing focus on water conservation and resilience, Chelsea 2024 is set to spotlight gardens with innovative approaches to water-wise landscaping, resilience and sustainable water management.  

Among the exhibits, the Flood Re: The Flood Resilient Garden, is designed to reduce flood risk and recover quickly after heavy rainfall. The garden uses dense planting to slow down water flow and integrates smart technology to capture and store rainwater, ensuring efficient use and management of water.  

Similarly, The Water Saving Garden, sponsored by Affinity Water, showcases the urgency of saving and reusing rainwater. The contemporary courtyard space showcases sleek planters fed with rainwater, highlighting the need for sustainable water solutions amidst rising temperatures and drought conditions.  

WaterAid’s garden explores the challenges posed by climate change and emphasises sustainable water management through a colourful array of plant species designed to deal with varying amounts of rainfall. The centrepiece of the design is a rainwater-harvesting pavilion, inspired by WaterAid’s work in providing access to clean water globally. This pavilion harvests, filters and stores rainwater for drinking and irrigation purposes while providing shade and slowing water flow.

Through thoughtful design and sustainable practices, these gardens inspire visitors to reimagine their own landscapes and embrace water-wise gardening principles. 

Small space designs and urban green areas

The spotlight will continue to shine on small space designs and urban green areas, showcasing the potential of even the most compact urban plots into vibrant, nature-rich sanctuaries. From a reimagined brownfield site to a repurposed church ground, these gardens prove that lush greenery and vibrant ecosystems can thrive even in the most confined urban environments.

The St James’s Piccadilly: Imagine the World to be Different garden invites visitors into a contemplative oasis in the heart of the city. Here, lush greenery and soothing water features provide a sanctuary for urban dwellers and wildlife alike. The inclusion of climate-resilient trees and a sculptural timber cabin gives nature a proper place in the city.  

Similarly, The Octavia Hill Garden by Blue Diamond with the National Trust advocates for urban green spaces as an essential for physical, mental and social wellbeing. Conceptually located on a brownfield site, this plant-filled urban community wildlife garden stimulates intimate connections with nature through open-air sitting rooms, wheelchair-accessible paths and diverse views and atmospheres, promoting urban biodiversity and inviting visitors to feel they are part of nature.  

The Addleshaw Goddard Junglette Garden features innovative design solutions for small spaces, with a balcony transformed into a serene sanctuary mirroring the structural layers of a jungle. Specifically designed for city residents whose balcony is their only outside space, this garden promotes biodiversity with hardy tropical planting, integrated bird nests, bat boxes and a small pond.

Together, these gardens exemplify how urban green spaces can provide refuge and connection with nature in bustling city environments. 

Edible planting 

The theme of edible and foraging-friendly planting emerges as a growing trend at Chelsea 2024. From an edible skate park to a probiotic feast in the form of a wildflower meadow, edible planting emerges as a beacon of innovation and sustainability.  

Enter the Planet Good Earth garden where a granite skate ramp not only ignites thrills with wheeled sports but also fosters communal gatherings and workshops. Here, apple, plum, and mulberry trees serve not just as greenery, but as educational tools for grafting techniques, while a rich tapestry of fruits, flowers, and foliage beckons exploration and safe foraging.  

The Bowel Research UK Microbiome Garden delves into the connection between soil health, wildlife, and our own microbiome, offering a probiotic feast that nourishes not just bodies but the ecosystems we depend on. As visitors wander through the garden, they’re invited to reimagine their diets, their gardens and their connection to the land.  

The Pulp Friction – Growing Skills Garden is formed around centrifugal forces, with colours and textures of edible planting spread throughout the garden. 

Connection to nature and wellbeing 

Many of this year’s gardens underscore the restorative power of nature and its positive impact on mental and physical health, deeply embedded within the ethos of several gardens, each with its unique narrative.  

The Muscular Dystrophy UK – Forest Bathing Garden embodies the therapeutic essence of nature, drawing from Shinrin-yoku to provide solace for patients and their families.  

Similarly, the Stroke Association’s Garden for Recovery combines nature and symbolism to create a serene space for healing. The Freedom from Torture Garden serves as a sanctuary for survivors, offering horticultural therapy to heal and restore survivors of torture.   

Common themes among these gardens include the use of natural elements such as water, foliage and sculptural trees to create immersive environments that promote healing and wellbeing. With an emphasis on sensory experiences, from the scent of pine trees to the sound of trickling water, Chelsea 2024 will champion the profound impact of nature on our mental and physical health. 

As we eagerly await the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2024, one thing is certain: the boundless creativity and passion of the garden designers will continue to inspire and enchant us. So, mark your calendars and prepare to be amazed as Chelsea once again transforms into a mesmerising tapestry of floral splendour and botanical innovation. We’ll see you there!