The 2023 RHS Chelsea Flower Show took place last week, and I was fortunate enough to enjoy them. Read on for some of the most wonderful gardens at the show this year!

What was Chelsea’s vision this year?

The 2023 RHS Chelsea Flower Show was another spectacular display of how plants, gardens, and thoughtful designs. It is this combination that can transform an environment and those that use it. Plus, it’s especially pleasing to hear that, for the second year running, all gardens entered required a relocation plan. This means these gorgeous gardens will live long and happy lives once the show is finished. 

This year, a strong emphasis was placed on embracing the wild side of nature, a chic, and – most importantly – sustainable way. Helping those that attended realise that it pays off to embrace the natural side of…well, nature!

Welcoming Weeds…

For years, weeds have been perceived as a challenge that gardeners’ needed to overcome. Horticultural speaking, they’re wild plants that just happen to be in the wrong place. Of course, it’s frustrating when plants pop up in your carefully curated garden. But there are plenty of reasons to embrace them.

Lots of weeds are great for the environment. And their stubborn nature gives them the ability to survive where other plants can’t. This means they’re more reliable for pollinators. Their flowers feed lots of insects. Their leaves feed caterpillars, aphids, and other soft-bodied creepy crawlies that, in turn, feed other insects, birds, and mammals! And when you start to look at them as a benefit to your garden, you may notice they can be beautiful! It’s no wonder they’re referred to as ‘unsung heroes of the plant world’.


Strolling around Chelsea I noticed knapweed making an appearance. This weed boasts a tightly-packed, thistle-like purple flower head, and blooms on all kinds of grasslands. It has a similar presence to the beloved allium, with slightly more edge and attitude. It’s a brilliant plant for attracting clouds of butterflies and establishing a look of untamed beauty in your outdoor space.

Top Tip

To plant Knapweed, purchase a ready-grown plug or pot-grown plant from a reliable garden centre. Or, you can sow seeds in autumn or spring. Leave the stems and seed heads over winter and cut back dead stems in early spring!

From Ritz to Rubble…

As well as embracing the wild side of nature, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show made a concerted effort to embrace the urban, using sustainable, repurposed rubble and waste material. The aim was to demonstrate how plants can use cracks and crevices to create homes for themselves and pollinators.

Using rubble and reclaimed waste material is a brilliant idea. It effectively acts as an alternative mulch. Plus, the materials are low-cost and readily available. Why not give it a go? It’s best used to support woody plants, with the poor nutrient value and effective drainage suited to Mediterranean plants, like Rosemary.


If you’d like to add a splash of the Mediterranean to your own garden, consider adding the likes of cypress trees, olive trees, palms, phlomis, and rosemary.

Top tip

Rosemary is a great addition to any garden, for its ornamental and practical presence. Prefect for providing a sweet scent around a seating area or pathway, or a splash of flavour to your dinner, make sure to cut your rosemary back annually to keep it from turning woody.

Celebrating Women in Horticulture

Historically, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show has been dominated by male designers. This year, however, there was a real shift. 58% of the designers in the running for awards were women! This is a welcome change and one I hope continues to blossom!

On that note, we saw some outstanding roses, celebrating the lives of influential women and what they experience. 

Take a look, for example, at the dazzling rose, Rosa ‘Rosemary Day’, pictured below. Named in honour of the ex-vice-chairman of ‘Plant Heritage’, this rose features coral pink flowers with bright striped markings throughout the petals that capture the viewer’s gaze.

Rosa 'Rosemary Day' Harkness

Top tip: If you’re looking to grow your own roses, but can’t decide which, the best thing to do is look at the space you have available. If you’ve got a blank wall, choose rambling roses that will climb, elegantly. Shrub roses are best for bordering your garden and pathways, and spruce up your patio with a fragrant potted rose!

A drum roll, please…

To round off my Chelsea Highlights, a mention must be made of the 2023 ‘Plant of the Year’! This year, we saw the Agapanthus ‘Black Jack’ take the crown, and it’s not hard to see why…


With blooms featuring striking black stripes down the centre of deep purple petals, this flower certainly captures your attention. Plus, it has changed the future of this variety of flower. With up to 10 times more florets per flowerhead than any other agapanthus variety, even reaching up to 100 florets, this provides a longer blooming period. It really is a wonderful opportunity to see a herbaceous perennial getting the praise that it deserves.

Top tip

During the first few growing seasons, water your agapanthus regularly to keep the compost moist. When they are established, they won’t need such frequent watering. Unless you’re hit with a particularly dry spell!

Visiting Chelsea Flower Show is always a delight, full of inspiration for your own garden at home.

Find out more about Chelsea Flower Show from year’s past:

Or check out my Pinterest board for more ideas: