Matt’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show Notebook 2024

Matt's RHS Chelsea Flower Show Notebook 2024 - Pollinators

This was a year of delights, the gardens were full of surprises, but in many ways gardens for real gardeners: they were full of beautiful planting with herbaceous perennials galore, and shrubs which were all hardy and easy to care for. I think the three words that stuck in my mind were, “trees, diversity, and pollinators”.


Trees in every garden soften the landscape, knitting the sky and ground together. Trees have a way of creating a safety blanket, bringing privacy to a place of sanctuary, whilst providing a place for birds to perch before feeding in your garden. They are also good for wet springs and summers, as they take large amounts of moisture from the soil when they grow through until autumn. At Chelsea, deciduous trees were used mainly over evergreens, allowing a massive array of planting options for underplanting. Underplanting at the show this year was full of colour, shape, texture and form.


Gardens with high functional diversity excel. Their multilayered canopy and root systems are more effective in promoting water infiltration into the soil. At Chelsea, diversity was key to the show garden planting, where we saw hardy plants that could either cope with wet or arid conditions. Tree planting created shady canopies for hot or dry periods, demonstrating to us gardeners that using diversity in our planting will enable our gardens to thrive and cope with our ever-changing climate.


Pollinator-friendly planting was all around us, in every show garden, eatery, and the retail displays. It was also prevalent within the Grand Pavilion, artfully promoting the array of beautiful plants we can all add to our gardens to create pollinator-friendly spaces.

My favourite gardens

Matt's RHS Chelsea Flower Show Notebook 2024 - Newt Roman Garden
The Newt Roman Garden
Matt's RHS Chelsea Flower Show Notebook 2024 chionanthus retusus in bloom
Chionanthus retusus in the No Adults Allowed Garden
Matt's RHS Chelsea Flower Show Notebook 2024 - Muscular Dystrophy Garden
The Muscular Dystrophy Garden

My favourite garden was a truly inspired garden of beautiful tranquility. The Muscular Dystrophy UK Garden was a garden that I stood and stared into, admiring the space and wondering how I could recreate something as wonderful as this at home. With planting that featured some real gems of the plant world, it was a space I would love to have at home.

The Newt Roman Garden was rather splendid and dramatic. With a villa and columns, beautiful purple bloomed lupin masterpiece and flag irises, it was a courtyard that created bold drama. Despite being very lovely it was also practical, showing how to recycle water; using it to create a superb water feature which added movement and sound to the garden.

The No Adults Allowed Garden was an amazing space full of fun, adventure and imagination. On entering, you were greeted by chionanthus retusus an amazing tree in full blossom, and one we will be trying to source for our customers this autumn. Amongst the dramatic planting, we loved amsonia, a plant you don’t often see used in gardens, or for sale in garden centres.

New plant varieties within the Great Pavilion

Matt's RHS Chelsea Flower Show Notebook 2024 - foxgloves Apple Blossom
Foxgloves Apple Blossom
Matt's RHS Chelsea Flower Show Notebook 2024 - hosta You're So Vein
Hosta You’re So Vein
Matt's RHS Chelsea Flower Show Notebook 2024 - Schubertii Arctic Snow
Alliums Schubertii Arctic Snow

Foxgloves Apple Blossom was a new variety, which was so beautiful with its pastel blooming pink and white split corolla trumpet flowers. This wonderful new foxglove, currently available as plants, but as seeds hopefully for 2025, is one that will most definitely be taking pride of place in my garden.

A massive array of W.S.Warmenhovan’s alliums were in full flower, and I must have gasped and been caught mumbling “wow, look how beautiful and mesmerising…..” when I saw the new variety Schubertii Arctic Snow, making a truly magnificent display of this all-white Schubertii, that we will be working hard to source for our Bulb Shop this Autumn.

We enjoyed the amazing hosta displays, with them planted in beautiful, arranged areas, filled with fun varieties. With names that made you stop and smirk, maybe even laugh out loud; the names so often fit the varieties shape, colour and form. I think a few might be on order to be delivered to my door, and added to my ever-growing hosta collection. With names such as, Sizzle, Proud Dragon, Forbidden Fruit, and You’re So Vein, who can resist!

Roses are forever popular and some new varieties will tantalise any lover of these quintessentially British garden plants.

  • The Chelsea Pensioner rose was launched this year, a beautiful, large, scarlet red coloured bloom, with a spicy scent, a uniquely beautiful rose to remember the iconic Chelsea veterans, which would look lovely in a large terracotta pot.
  • Our third rose highlight was Peter Beales RNLI Rose 200th With Courage, which has coppery orange flowers, a floribunda with clustered flowers, and a sweet apple-like scent.

Other notable newcomers

Matt's RHS Chelsea Flower Show Notebook - Geum Petticoats Peach
Geum Petticoats Peach
Matt's RHS Chelsea Flower Show Notebook - Baptisia

Taylors Bulbs launched a new narcissus, Daffodil King Charles; the trumpets are lightly frilled pink with white petals, it would make a lovely addition to any border, and with rather a regal and patriotic name too.

Geum Petticoats Peach is an absolute stunner, one we will want to source and grow for next year. It is peach, pink and faded white within the flowering stages; such a dainty and subtle herbaceous perennial, which would work with many colour schemes.

Baptisia, was a new perennial to our plant area last year, and suddenly it is being used in amongst Chelsea planting plans, so a plant of the future for beds and borders.

The Indian rain tree Koelreuteria paniculata used in the Bridge to 2030 Garden, has marvellous semi-arching branches with twisted aged multi-stems and looked amazing with their natural underplanting.

Who could resist a visit to walk amongst the Raymond Evison clematis, when so many take your breath away with bold and vibrant colours, and to truly identify a favourite is beyond me. The new Jersey Flute was in pride of place, and I fell in love with Kingfisher all over again.

Adding height to smaller gardens

Another key feature at the show was the best use of modest spaces. With new homes now having smaller gardens, and inner-city dwellers relying on balconies or backyards, using the upward space of pergolas, or trellis, to grow climbers and creepers, makes sense. This planting also creates a space of secluded tranquillity and shows that even smaller gardens and spaces can be turned into little spaces of urban delight and refuge.

The 2024 Chelsea Flower Show plant of the year

Matt's RHS Chelsea Flower Show Notebook - salvia Belle De Loire Barsabel
Salvia x jamensis Belle De Loire Barsabel
Matt's RHS Chelsea Flower Show Notebook - salvia prunus Starlight
2024 RHS plant of the year – prunus Starlight
Matt's RHS Chelsea Flower Show Notebook - philadelphus Petite Perfume White
Philadelphus Petite Perfume White

2024 RHS plant of the year was a beautiful prunus Starlight, with delicate exploding pure white star clusters, like an amelanchier crossed with a mountain witch alder. This has been brought to the market by Frank P Matthews trees, an excellent British tree grower based in Herefordshire.

Amongst the not so publicised were a couple of winners for me, and, reminiscent of TV’s X factor, maybe the winner won’t be the everlasting star? Salvia x jamensis Belle De Loire Barsabel, trachelospermum asiatic Star of Milano and philadelphus Petite Perfume White, were stunning plants with great colour, and the trachelospermum had a delicate and light scent, with dainty white flowers against the subtle and delicate variegated leaves. It looked amazing, and is evergreen as well.

Already I can’t wait to be here again in Chelsea 2025, immersed in the greatest flower show on earth, full of gorgeous planting and unique ideas to inspire and broaden the mind.

Thank you for reading.

Happy gardening.

Matt Peck

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