Countdown to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2023

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Sunday: Countdown to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2023 (BBC One, 6pm)

If your green fingers are itching, it’s probably because they’re aware that one of the biggest horticultural extravaganzas is just around the corner.

This year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show is due to officially open to members on Tuesday, before the rest of the public is allowed in from Thursday. Sadly, one regular visitor won’t be taking a tour – the late Queen Elizabeth II. Instead, organisers will be paying tribute to her and her family via a range of exhibits, including a topiary depiction of Emma, Her Majesty’s pony who memorably stood to attention as her funeral cortege passed by.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Whilst there will be joyful celebration around the King’s Coronation at RHS Chelsea this year, the absence of our late Queen on the afternoon before we open will be profoundly felt by many,” says Helena Pettit, RHS Director of Shows and Gardens. “So I hope our royal tributes will help keep those happy memories alive.”

The Queen enjoyed her early entry into the event, which allowed her to tour the site and take in its displays without having to fight through the crowds desperate for a glimpse of her. Two people receiving similar treatment in 2023 are Sophie Raworth and Joe Swift, who get the BBC’s coverage going on Sunday afternoon with an hour-long preview show.

Among the highlights they’re expected to feature are entries in the Balcony and Container Gardens competition – for the first time, all the design teams involved are led by women.

“There is much work to be done around increasing diversity in horticulture but it is an encouraging step forward to have a garden category at RHS Chelsea filled with so many women,” adds Pettit. “We hope seeing these women create beautiful gardens at the world’s most famous flower show will inspire the next generation of female designers to pursue a career in horticulture. A celebration of ‘Women in Horticulture’ will also be at the heart of the Great Pavilion this year.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

One of the event’s themes is, fittingly, inclusivity and gardening for all, along with minimum effort for maximum reward, how to garden in an ever changing climate, and uncovering the value of gardening for our health and wellbeing.

All will feature in the BBC’s coverage across the rest of the week, which begins daily from Monday at 3.45pm on BBC One when Nicki Chapman and Angellica Bell bring viewers the latest news. Then, at 7.30pm, switch over to BBC Two for more action with Swift and Monty Don.

On Wednesday and Friday, we’ll see programmes dedicated to the BBC RHS People’s Choice Award, and if you miss any of the programmes, don’t worry, there’s a highlights show next Sunday.

“We can’t wait to see this year’s stunning garden designs and to find out more about the green ethos behind them,” claims Catherine Catton, Head of Factual Entertainment & Events. Her BBC colleague Lindsay Bradbury, Commissioning Editor for BBC Daytime, adds: “I hope we can encourage more people to don their gardening gloves and get the best value out of their outdoor space; our coverage will provide helpful tips.”

Sounds like we need to have our notebooks as well as those green fingers handy.