A record three million new gardeners started growing over lockdown — with balconies, containers and window boxes blooming across the nation as a symbol of hope.

And to recognise the importance of such small spaces during the pandemic, RHS Chelsea Flower Show has created two new garden categories this year.

Blooming Balconies and Container Gardens will be celebrated for the first time, to the delight of the new army of younger gardeners and green-fingered city dwellers.

Blooming Balconies focuses on transforming urban high rises into calming spaces immersed in nature, while Container Gardens maximise space and are perfect for renters who want to take their gardens with them when they move.

Helena Pettit, RHS director of gardens and shows, says: ‘We are really excited to introduce these two new garden categories this year and to show the thousands who visit the world’s greatest flower show and the millions who watch the BBC coverage at home just what you can do with next to no outdoor space.’

Here, we looks at some of the show’s groundbreaking displays…

Pop Street Garden

Designed by John McPherson

This high energy container garden was designed to jumpstart the transition from ‘lockdown to on-the-town’. Taking its inspiration from street and Pop Art, it’s the perfect place to hang out over drinks with good company, suggests designer John McPherson.

‘People need connection. We were not able to date, mingle or spend time with friends and we have felt that intensely during the pandemic,’ says John.

‘So the vibrant colours, coupled with bold shapes, textures and pop culture references, are designed to get everyone in the mood to celebrate.’ The garden contains dynamic sculptures and an original mural by artist Robert Littleford. It is inspired by John’s own home and garden.

‘My design celebrates colour and the need for it, with exuberant, lush, playful and exotic planting. Gardens are additional rooms to our homes, and a place to increase our wellbeing.

‘And they should reflect your personality. Think about the stuff you love, things you’ve collected or how you’ve decorated your home, and find ways to bring them into the garden.

‘A container can be made from almost anything as long as it has proper drainage. If you’re a Star Wars fan, create a Star Wars-themed garden. The Force will be with you! Always.’


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