Royal tributes among RHS Chelsea 2023 highlights

A tranquil garden filled with some of the Windsor family’s favourite plants, a life-size topiary display of Queen Elizabeth II’s pony ‘Emma’ and a display of roses celebrating the coronation are among royal tributes at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

The world’s greatest gardening event will commemorate the life of the late Queen, who rarely missed her annual visit to RHS Chelsea during her 70-year reign, while also looking forward to the coronation of King Charles III.

Enclosed by hedging to create a space for contemplation, designer Dave Green’s ‘A Garden of Royal Reflection and Celebration’ features a plant palette of light pinks and whites such as rose ‘Olivia Austin’ and silver birch to reflect the late monarch’s tastes. Blues, purples and pinks such as magnolia ‘Heaven Scent’, clematis ‘The Duchess of Cornwall’, lupins and geraniums, represent the King’s preferences according to Sandringham’s Head Gardener, Jack Lingfield.

Drifts of Camassia, reminiscent of the meadows in front of Highgrove House, will also feature in the RHS Garden, along with a bronze statue of the King and several woodland trees. Plants are being provided by some of the UK’s top specialist plant growers, including Raymond Evison, Hare Spring Cottage Plants, and David Austin, who Queen Elizabeth II knew personally from her visits to RHS Chelsea.

In the Great Pavilion, Agrumi Topiary Art have created a topiary display depicting ‘Emma’, the fell pony who stood to attention along the drive of Windsor castle to pay her respects as the Queen’s cortege passed on the day of the funeral.

Harkness Roses are creating a display inspired by the British flag to acknowledge the King’s Coronation, and Ottershaw Cacti are launching the new Aeonium ‘Coronation’, a fleshy-leafed succulent.

Helena Pettit, RHS Director of Shows and Gardens, said: “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.

“Her annual visit would lift the whole showground, so I hope our royal tributes will help keep those happy memories alive.”

Other themes at the show include edible plants, a popular choice for designers this year. The School Food Matters Garden features 80 per cent edible plants, and the Savills Garden showcases plot-to-plate recipes.  

A clear shift towards drought-resistant plants is evident throughout the show, with more than half the perennials in the Show Garden category being heat resilient such as the milky, thick-stemmed Euphorbia and Stipa, a tall grass, compared with under a third last year.

Naturalistic planting returns as a horticultural theme, with nettles, red campion, daisies and bindweed featuring in the Royal Entomological Society Garden and thistles and brambles in the Fauna & Flora Garden.

The Newt in Somerset will bring the 'Beezantium', an exhibit in the form of a scaled-up hive, offering a fascinating insight into the life of a bee and the role it plays in flourishing ecosystems. 

RHS Chelsea Flower Show, sponsored by the Newt in Somerset, runs from 22 to 27 May. Tickets, including for RHS Chelsea Late, are currently available here:

Notes to editors

For more details and images, please contact the RHS Press Office at [email protected]
About the RHS
The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) was founded in 1804 and is the UK’s largest gardening charity.

The RHS vision is to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place via its inspirational gardens and shows, science research and advisory, extensive library collections and far-reaching education and community programmes. With over 600,000 members the RHS also shares its horticultural knowledge and expertise with millions of people every year through its website and publications.

In 2021, the RHS launched its Sustainability Strategy, committing to be net positive for nature and people by 2030. The supporting RHS Planet-Friendly Gardening Campaign will continue to harness the power of the UK’s 30 million gardeners to help tackle the climate and biodiversity crisis.

We are solely funded by our members, visitors and supporters. For more information visit

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About The Newt in Somerset
The Newt in Somerset is a working country estate in Somerset, between the towns of Bruton and Castle Cary. The original Georgian manor house and farm buildings sit amidst farmland, woodland, orchards and acres of gardens - shaped over centuries by successive enthusiasts, including renowned garden designer and writer Penelope Hobhouse, who first opened them to the public in the mid 1980s. The gardens’ latest incarnation was designed by landscape artist Patrice Taravella. Influenced by thousands of years of horticultural history, mixing ornamental and productive elements, they are a feast for the eyes and the stomach.

With a focus on Somerset heritage, sustainable agriculture and artisan production, the estate encompasses a luxury hotel and spa within Hadspen House and the Farmyard, designed by Karen Roos, in addition to restaurants, farm shops, immersive garden attractions and a Cyder Press & Cellar. For more information visit:

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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.