Build Week @ RHS Chelsea

2 min read

gardening inspiration

The Chelsea Flower Show is one of the most prestigious flower shows in the world. It attracts thousands of visitors every year. The event is held in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea in London. It takes place over five days in May. One of the most exciting times leading up to the show is the build week, when exhibitors start building their gardens and displays.

How does it start?

Build week typically starts around two weeks before the show, with exhibitors arriving at the showground to start setting up their displays. They begin by constructing the basic framework of their gardens. These are the garden hard-points. Starting with laying out paths, creating beds, and positioning any hard landscaping features like walls, paths or water features. This is a critical phase as getting the foundations right is crucial for the overall success of the garden.

Once the basic structure is in place, exhibitors move on to the planting stage. This can be arguably the most challenging part of the build. The planting must be completed in just a few days, and exhibitors must choose plants that are in perfect condition and that will look their best during the show. They also need to ensure that the plants are arranged in a way that creates the desired effect. The garden should look balanced and harmonious.

Working with experts

Throughout build week, exhibitors work closely with a team of experts who are on hand to help them with any technical issues, like water supply, drainage, and electrical problems. They must also adhere to strict health and safety guidelines to keep the showground safe for everyone who will attend the show.

One of the most exciting parts of build week is the arrival of the show-stopping displays, typically the impressive floral arch that spans the entrance to the showground. These displays are created by some of the most talented florists in the world, and they are always a highlight of the event.

As the build week progresses, the gardens and displays start to take shape. The excitement builds. The showground is a hive of activity, with exhibitors putting the finishing touches to their displays. Similarly, the show organisers work to make sure that everything is in place for the grand opening.

The judging

Build week culminates in the judges’ visits. Expert judges inspect each garden and display and award medals based on their overall design, planting, and execution. The medals range from Gold to Silver-Gilt, Silver, and Bronze, and they are highly coveted by exhibitors.

Build week at the Chelsea Flower Show is a thrilling and intense period of time. Exhibitors work tirelessly to create some of the most beautiful and innovative gardens in the world. It’s a time when creativity, skill, and teamwork come together. The end goal is to create something truly special, and it’s an event that garden enthusiasts from around the world look forward to every year.

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