Big ideas for small spaces

Small space gardening made a comeback at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2022 as the Balcony and Container Gardens returned

The Still Garden

Proving that any space, no matter how small, can be turned into a gardening haven, the popular Balcony and Container Gardens made a reappearance at RHS Chelsea 2022.

The Balcony Gardens  and Container Gardens are judged garden categories, and feature first-time RHS Chelsea designers and exhibitors. 

They were joined again by the Houseplant Studios, supported by Close Brothers Asset Management, to offer plenty of inspiration for making the most of limited space and resources.

The Balcony and Container Gardens showed how compact outdoor areas can be transformed into positive green spaces for health, wellbeing and the environment, while the Houseplant Studios focused on doing the same for indoor spaces.

High-rise habitat

Jason Williams, also known as the Cloud Gardener UK, decided to transform his own balcony into an urban oasis during lockdown. Jason, who lives in a high-rise apartment in Manchester, used his own self-taught experiments with planting for The Cirrus Garden, which included a colourful mix of wildflowers and edibles to create a sanctuary for wildlife in the centre of a city.

The Cirrus Garden by Jason Williams

Balcony planting

Balconies can provide an important habitat for birds and Jay Day, designed by Alison Orellana Malouf and Su-Yeon Choi, integrated typical bird seed plants to encourage birds to visit. Featuring a lush planted floor of green moss for nut caching to attract the Eurasian Jay, the duo hoped to bring an ecological connection that enables urban residents to see nature at their windows.

Jay Day by Alison Orellana Malouf and Su-Yeon Choi

Easy-grow edibles

The theme of easy-to-grow edibles in a small space was displayed in William Murray’s The Potting Balcony Garden sponsored by Viking .

The Potting Balcony Garden by William Murray
Ann Treneman’s Wild Kitchen Garden was another great example of  how – even with limited outdoor options – homeowners can still grow their own fresh produce outside their door.

The Wild Kitchen garden by Ann Treneman

Travel inspiration

A sense of travel and escapism came from Jane Porter’s The Still Garden and design duo, Tanya Wilson and Johanna Norlin’s Container Garden A Mediterranean Reflection, which drew inspiration from Scottish and Mediterranean landscapes respectively.

The Still Garden

Not to be missed

Other Balcony and Container Gardens included: The Blue Garden by Tom Wilkes-Rios; Mandala, Meditation and Mindfulness Garden by Nikki Hollier; and The Enchanted Rain Garden by Bea Tann.

Learn more about these stunning small spaces

Houseplant trends

As the trend for growing and caring for houseplants continues, the Houseplant Studios showcased forward-thinking style ideas and practical tips for bringing the splendour of growing to interior spaces. Displayed in individual studios provided by Malvern Garden Buildings, each of the six selected houseplant specialists highlighted a variety of species with designs ranging from an aerial indoor garden to a walk-in terrarium.

Display from House Plant Studios

Helena Pettit, RHS Director of Gardens and Shows, said: “The Balcony and Container Gardens and Houseplant Studios at RHS Chelsea Flower Show show that any space, whether inside or out, can be turned into a garden sanctuary for the benefit of our health and the environment. The range of creative ideas is outstanding and they dispel the myth that gardening is only for those with large outdoor areas or big budgets and provide ample inspiration for creating a little piece of greenery in whatever space you have.”

More from Chelsea

Chelsea Show Gardens: See the exciting garden designs for the 2022 show.

Plan your visit: Everything you need to know about the show from how to get there to facilities

Top things to see: See what to do on a visit to the world’s most famous flower show

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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.