2016 highlights

The grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea were once again transformed into the world’s greatest flower show, home to amazing plant displays and the best cutting-edge garden designs

The Harrods British Eccentrics GardenSome of this year's show-stopping displays included:

  • Exciting show features including photographic exhibits and a floral arch to celebrate the 90th birthday of the RHS patron, HM the Queen.
  • A 60-foot carriage from Belmond British Pullman, which formed part of the 6,000 sq ft planted-up station in the Great Pavilion
  • A broad range of design styles, diverse themes and planting inspiration were on display in the spectacular Show Gardens. Six gold, eight silver-gilt and three silver medals were awarded to the Show Garden designers 
  • The RHS Garden for Health, Happiness and Horticulture designed by Ann-Marie Powell, and the silver-gilt medal-winning Modern Apothecary Garden designed by RHS Ambassador Jekka McVicar
  • The memorable poppies tribute by Phillip Johnson at the entrance to the show, which was made up of almost 300,000 individually crocheted poppies
  • Twenty plants were shortlisted for RHS Plant of the Year with exhibitor Taylors Clematis winning the overall title for Clematis chiisanensis AMBER ('Wit141205')
  • The return of horticultural showman Diarmuid Gavin with his silver-gilt medal-winning design, The British Eccentrics Garden, featuring bizarre garden gadgetry that came to life every 15 minutes
  • The Fresh and Artisan categories were yet again full of imaginative and engaging designs, including an acoustic garden inspired by world-leading percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie in the Artisan category 

See the complete list of 2016 award winners

Read a guide to all the gardens at this year's show

Everything you need to know about this year's show, from plant trends and design ideas to star plants to buy, videos and podcasts


Health, Happiness and Horticulture

The theme of this year's show championed the benefits of greening-up our grey spaces as part of the Greening Grey Britain campaign.

Features in the RHS Greening Grey Britain Garden for Health, Happiness and Horticulture, designed by leading garden designer and BBC presenter Ann-Marie Powell, offered practical ideas for visitors to take Chelsea home, especially to make their gardens a haven of health and happiness. Her design has now been rebuilt in Angell Town, Brixton.

This theme was incorporated in several other designs. Chris Beardshaw’s collaboration with Morgan Stanley, The Morgan Stanley Garden for Great Ormond Street Hospital, produced a unique Show Garden that will be relocated to the heart of the hospital as a therapeutic space for parents. Alison Doxey and Stephen Welch designed The Garden Bed as a green space for hospice patients.

Also as part of our Greening Grey Britain campaign, we brought together an expert panel to discuss how we can green more front gardens at the Front Garden Summit. Speakers at the debate included gardening personality Alan Titchmarsh, planting designer Nigel Dunnett, and Chief Executive of the Royal Town Planning Institute, Trudi Elliott.

Glorious floral and horticultural exhibits

Warmenhoven display from 2015In the Great Pavilion more than 100 specialist plant breeders, nurseries and societies created breath-taking floral exhibits with plants at the peak of perfection. 

The interactive Discovery zone had thought-provoking displays, many created by plant scientists and colleges, highlighting the significance of plant science.

Close by, the winners in the regional heats of RHS Chelsea Florist of the Year, RHS Young Chelsea Florist of the Year, and RHS Chelsea Floristry College of the Year, were crafting glorious floral displays, while outside in the Floral Design Studio, members of NAFAS were competing for medals.

Amazing artwork and all things gardening

David Harber sculpture from 2015Unique products for the garden and home were available to buy throughout the showground, including limited edition sculptures and gardening essentials.

Twelve finalists competed for the title of RHS Chelsea Garden Product of the Year 2016. Products included seating, fire pits, sculpture and tools. The overall winner was Hozelock with its mobile app, hub and remote tap unit, which allows gardeners to remotely water their gardens. 


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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.