Health, Happiness & Horticulture highlighted at RHS Chelsea 2016

banner-Health-Happiness-&-HorticultureSandy Felton takes a look at one of the main themes of this year’s 2016 RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

Every year, as the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Chelsea Flower Show approaches, there is much discussion as to what themes will emerge from the world’s most prestigious Flower Show.

Now that the gardens are announced, we can safely assume that the 2016 Show will certainly focus on Health, Happiness and Horticulture, as we see this theme incorporated into several designs.

The RHS campaign, ‘Greening Grey Britain’ is a call to action to get the nation to transform hard, cold grey areas into living planted-up beautiful places, to improve lives and help the environment. This successful campaign has so far attracted more than 1,300 people who have pledged to plant up an area of grey to green, helping the RHS reach its target of 6,000 pledges by the end 2017.

Leading garden designer and BBC presenter, Ann-Marie Powell will be helping to shout about the campaign with her garden, celebrating the health and wellbeing benefits of Greening Grey Britain. With bright borders to lift the spirit, benches to relax and share a chat on and soothing water features, the ‘RHS Greening Grey Britain Garden for Health, Happiness and Horticulture‘ (pictured banner above) is surely going to attract our attention.

Ann-Marie points out that gardens and gardening do more good to heart and soul than they are ever given credit for: “I am delighted to be helping the RHS shout about this at the world-famous flower show. It’s important that my take on a front-garden theme is full of take-home ideas both for individuals and for communities and I hope it will inspire visitors and viewers to get involved in Greening Grey Britain,” she says.

If anyone can inspire us to green our front gardens its Ann-Marie, and it doesn’t need a crystal ball to foresee that this will be a popular garden.

‘A Modern Apothecary’

I have long been a fan of Jekka McVicar and I was delighted to learn that she would be creating a garden for Chelsea this year. Jamie Oliver nicknamed her the ‘Queen of Herbs’ an apt title for the author, broadcaster and organic gardening expert. Jekka will be designing a garden for St John’s Hospice, using plants selected for their medical practices, which will later be recycled to a hospital or care home in the UK. The inspiration for ‘A Modern Apothecary‘ came from conversations with doctors and care professionals about what we can do to improve our own health within the context of gardens and plants as well as the healing power of plants.

middle-Jekka-McVicar---A-Modern-ApothecaryJekka has just been appointed as an RHS Ambassador and there can be little doubt that the winner of 62 RHS Gold medals including the Lawrence Medal in 2009, as well as achieving excellence in the field of organic herb growing, will certainly bring a special focus on health, herbs and horticulture.

Therapeutic spaces

Chris Beardshaw’s collaboration with Morgan Stanley is a distinctive show garden that will be relocated to the heart of Gt Ormand Street Hospital after the show as a therapeutic space for parents. (pictured below) Charlie Albone’s design for Husqvarna is inspired by the healing effect and solace found while being in a garden.

middle-Morgan-Stanley copyThe health and happiness theme continues with Alison Doxey and Stephen Welch who are designing ‘The Garden Bed‘ as a green space for hospice patients.

In the Great Pavilion, ‘Healthy gardens, healthy gardeners’ by Coventry University will feature in the Discovery Zone and will explore how gardening can be a form of exercise, if undertaken in the correct manner.

Gardeners know the therapeutic effects of gardening and horticulture, both on body and mind, and there can be little doubt that the ‘Greening Grey Britain’ campaign is one of the most important the RHS has launched.

Tickets for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2016 are available to buy on
Ticket prices range from £23.00 To £68.00

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show runs from 24th May to 28th May at the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, London.


Picture credits: All images ©RHS