Children to judge RHS Chelsea Flower Show gardens for the first time

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) is delighted to announce that for the first time children will take on the role of judges at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

Following the success of the inaugural Chelsea Children’s Picnic last year, local schools are once again being invited to the world’s most famous horticultural event, as the charity aims to make gardening more accessible to all. 72 children from nine London primary schools will participate as junior judges at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show to determine the winner of the all-new RHS Children’s Choice Award, with the winning garden unveiled on the opening day of the show.
The attending primary schools, chosen from a pool of applications, have all shown a passion for growing by providing pupils with gardening club sessions, opportunities to grow their own food, and exploring ways to encourage wildlife into their grounds. All schools are also members of the RHS Campaign for School Gardening, which provides teachers with free resources, training and support to get more young people gardening. It is hoped that the experience at the show will bolster the children’s love of gardening and appreciation for nature, particularly as many of the pupils do not have easy access to a garden or green space at home.
After enjoying a picnic lunch the junior judges will set off in groups to assess the eight Show Gardens by each considering a series of questions including whether the garden is a good place to play, whether it is attractive to wildlife, and how the space makes them feel. The questions have been designed to celebrate the perspective of children and demonstrate the breadth of feelings that gardens can evoke. Once all the feedback is collated, one Show Garden will be awarded the RHS Children’s Choice Award 2024.
As well as judging the eight Show Gardens, the junior judges will also have the opportunity to visit the RHS No Adults Allowed Garden, designed by pupils from Sulivan Primary School in South West London, which reinforces the message that gardening is for everyone, regardless of age.
RHS Director General, Clare Matterson, said: “The decision to include children as judges at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show reflects our commitment to cultivating a lifelong passion for gardening. The RHS Children’s Choice Award champions the unique perspective of young people and highlights the importance of nurturing a connection between children and the natural world. As the world’s greatest gardening spectacle, RHS Chelsea is a feast for the senses, and I can’t wait to hear what our junior judges make of it.”
Children are front and centre stage at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show as the RHS No Adults Allowed Garden is the first in the event’s history to be designed by children, for children. In order to access the garden adults must pledge to do one of three things:
  • Plant a Tree
  • Donate to RHS Campaign for School Gardening to help give other children access to nature
  • Find a flower that starts with the first letter of their name 
Adults who have pledged will receive one of the children’s designed “access stickers”, granting them entry to the garden.
RHS Chelsea Flower Show, sponsored by The Newt in Somerset, runs from 21 to 25 May 2024 at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, for more information and to buy tickets visit
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For more information, interviews and images please contact Gina Miller [email protected] or the RHS Press Office, [email protected] 

Notes to editors

A full line up of Show Gardens and Sanctuary Gardens at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2024 can be found here:

RHS Chelsea Flower Show sponsored by The Newt in Somerset
Dates: 21-25 May 2024
Location: Royal Hospital Chelsea, London, SW3 4SR    
Tickets from £37.00 (plus admin fee)                                                                                                 
About the RHS Campaign for School Gardening
The RHS Campaign for School Gardening was set up to give children and young people opportunities to grow and connect with nature and learn how to care for plants and the planet. It currently supports over 17,000 schools across the UK, reaching a total of 1.7 million school children annually.
Through gardening children learn about healthy fruit and vegetables, wildlife and important life skills such as teamwork, social skills and co-operation. Using an outdoor classroom where children can learn in a fun, engaging way provides huge benefits. Information, lesson plans and advice for schools is provided online and is backed up by support from the RHS Education team and RHS Campaign for School Gardening Regional Advisors.
Schools and youth organisations can sign up to the RHS Campaign for School Gardening online:
About the RHS
Since our formation in 1804, the RHS has grown into the UK’s leading gardening charity, touching the lives of millions of people. Perhaps the secret to our longevity is that we’ve never stood still. In the last decade alone we’ve taken on the largest hands-on project the RHS has ever tackled by opening RHS Garden Bridgewater in Salford, Greater Manchester, and invested in the science that underpins all our work by building RHS Hilltop – The Home of Gardening Science. 

We have committed to being net positive for nature and people by 2030. We are also committed to being truly inclusive and to reflect all the communities of the UK.  

Across our five RHS gardens we welcome more than three million visitors each year to enjoy over 34,000 different cultivated plants. Events such as the world famous RHS Chelsea Flower Show, other national shows, our schools and community work, and partnerships such as Britain in Bloom, all spread the shared joy of gardening to wide-reaching audiences. 

Throughout it all we’ve held true to our charitable core – to encourage and improve the science, art and practice of horticulture – to share the love of gardening and the positive benefits it brings.

For more information visit

RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262

Get involved

The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.