The Discovery Zone

A place where visitors can marvel, engage and learn about the latest in horticultural science and research

The Discovery Zone
The Discovery Zone at RHS Chelsea Flower Show is an area where visitors can engage and learn about the latest in plant science. This exciting corner of the Great Pavilion showcases the best scientific and educational exhibits from the world of horticulture.

Discover the 2019 exhibits:

Ornamental plants: our future invaders?

Ornamental plants: our future invaders?Standing in the shade of giant rhubarb leaves ‘Ornamental plants: our future invaders?’ was an exhibit presented by Tomos Jones, a PhD student from the University of Reading. Working with Dr Alastair Culham, Associate Professor of Botany at the University of Reading, Tomos' exhibit investigated the ornamental plants that might escape the garden and have the potential to become invasive in the future.

The exhibit explained the issue of invasive species and reveal what you can do at home to limit the risks.

“Gardeners have an important role in preventing and managing invasive plants," said Tomos. "They can be the first to observe plants showing signs of invasive characteristics. The information we collect from gardeners will help us identify and control species before they become a problem, so that we can all continue to enjoy our gardens without posing a risk to the wider environment.”

Visitors could contribute to Tomos’ research at the show by reporting their own experience of invasive or potentially problematic ornamental plants in the garden.

A flowering of genetics­: Celebrating 100 years of the Genetics Society

A flowering of genetics¬: Celebrating 100 years of the Genetics SocietyGenes control the amazing variety of colour in our garden flowers. This exhibit celebrated the centenary of the Genetics Society,­ which supports and promotes the research­ teaching and application of genetics.

Focusing on Antirrhinum (snapdragon) this display showed how new colour combinations arise when scarlet-flowered Antirrhinum pseudomajus and yellow-flowered A.­ striatum come into contact.

Three planters illustrated the progress of genetics from Mendel (pea plants)­ through the discovery of mobile DNA (variegated flower colours)­ to modern developments. Visitors saw how bees influence the spread of genetic variation related to flower colour in the wild.

Behind the Genes 

Behind the Genes
The Behind the Genes garden created by Sparsholt College students was in collaboration with Thompson & Morgan the mail order plant and seed specialist and offered a visually inspiring insight into the processes of plant breeding selection and development.

Techniques used to bring about the improvement of plant species were explained to show the commitment and expertise involved in plant breeding.

Each section featured milestones from extensive breeding programmes from across the years.

City Harvest

City HarvestCity Harvest, a charity dedicated to ensuring surplus food is not wasted, came to Chelsea with an exhibit that showed how fresh food can be harvested from the city. 
Every month enough food for 13 million meals is wasted by businesses in London, despite there being widespread hunger and homelessness. To date, City Harvest has redistributed more than five million meals from responsible manufacturers, retailers and events such as the RHS Chelsea Flower Show to community programmes.
Visitors who went to the City Harvest exhibit discovered more about their important solution to these worldwide social and environmental issues.

Helping Children Grow

Helping Children GrowThere was inspiration for getting kids interested in gardening with Helping Children Grow, an exhibit designed by former Blue Peter gardener Chris Collins and digital design agency, Ambition Creative.

Helping Children Grow was a display that celebrated National Children’s Gardening week (25 May – 2 June 2019) and illustrated the educational and wellbeing benefits that gardening has for children.  

There were take-home ideas for projects – including edible planters, tipis made from runner beans and even a wildlife hotel.

House of Wayward Plants

House of Wayward Plants exhibitWayward is the official reuse partner for the show, rehoming thousands of plants and tonnes of hard-landscape materials each year to hundreds of community groups and schools across the capital.

In 2019, Wayward worked with the National Trust and RHS to create a landscape recycle-reuse centre at Morden Hall Park in South London to support the greening of London.

Visitors to the exhibition learned more about this exciting initiative and discovered how to get involved by applying to adopt a plant of their own.

Floella's Future

Floella's Future
Birmingham City Council is the UK’s largest local authority, processing 500,000 tonnes of waste per year. Their display raised awareness of single-use plastic and the need to recycle.

Food waste constitutes more than one third of collected waste, much of which could be composted. A plant-based alternative to plastic was also profiled.

Forest Carbon

Forest CarbonSince 2006 Forest Carbon has been creating new UK woodlands on behalf of companies and individuals wanting to capture the unavoidable carbon dioxide emissions that arise from their activities, while also making a wider contribution to local environments and communities.

Its display focused on the local impacts of climate change, the role of nature in preventing this, the multiple co-benefits that arise from creating woodlands, and de-mystifying how carbon reductions and ‘offsetting’ work.

Woodlands supported by Forest Carbon provide important services to society, including flood mitigation, cleaner air and rivers, habitats for nature, green spaces for people, sustainable timber and employment creation.


RHS Membership

Members enjoy early booking and discounted tickets to RHS Shows.

Join the RHS

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.