Timber Press author Andrew Wilson co-designed The Living Legacy Garden, inspired by the Battle of Waterloo, which aims to “reconciles the drama and violence of the battle with a progressive and positive future.” Image: Royal Horticulture Society
Powerhouse Plants & Planting the Dry Shade Garden
Must-do: Check out the Plant Of The Year finalists and winner in the Grand Pavilion: twenty brand new plants go for the award.
Must-not-do: Do not wear sandals. Instead, wear your most comfortable walking shoes, you’re going to be on your feet all day.
Best-kept-secret: It’s far less crowded than it used to be. These days, the Royal Horticultural Society limits the number of tickets to make the show more comfortable for everyone.
The big trend this year: Irises—brand new varieties developed in France seen for the first time, plus historic varieties developed by British artist Cedric Morris more than fifty years ago.
Image: Chris Wlaznik
The Plant Lover’s Guide to Snowdrops
Must-do: Enthusiastically greet all your horticultural friends and ask them what their favourite garden is. If you have not made your mind up yet, hide this fact. Consume champagne liberally. Repeat.
Must-not-do: DO NOT EVER take a little nap on the elegant and comfortable garden furniture (no matter how tempting it is or how weary you feel).
Best-kept-secret: It is completely addictive, but that is probably a really badly kept secret, actually.
The big trend this year: It is a little bit hard to say as we are not there yet, but it is looking like key colours are hot orange, burgundy and plum, with hits of acid-green and blue.
Image: Matthew Kidd
The Plant Lover’s Guide to Dahlias
Must-do: Get there crazy stupid super early to avoid the crowds.
Must-not-do: Drink too many free glasses of champers on press day and fall a*se over t*ts into gold medal winning gardens. Ooopsie.
Best-kept-secret: The TV coverage is amazing, but the smell, the taste, the atmosphere of early morning Chelsea is basically orgasmic.
The big trend this year: I predict and hope there’ll be a backlash of recent years of lots of oh-so-gorgeous-subtlety. Time for some serious bold colour in the show gardens. The Mexican-themed, dahlia display in the Great Pavillion, (which will be the biggest EVER at Chelsea) is gonna be knock out.
Image: Joanne Everson
The Plant Lover’s Guide to Tulips
Must-do: Check out the nursery stands in the Great Pavilion to see new varieties and immaculate displays of perfect flowers.
Must-not-do: Don’t buy any statues, fountains or sculptures on the spur of the moment—you need to plan where these things are going beforehand!
Best-kept-secret: It’s not really a secret, but if you can, get to the show as soon as it opens, to get the best views before the crowds arrive.
The big trend this year: With Dan Pearson returning to Chelsea with a garden inspired by the rockery at Chatsworth, maybe rock gardens will start to make a comeback?