- 10 exhibits champion the latest in gardening science and technology
- Interactive displays explore the threat of invasive plants and pests, how to utilise your outdoor space and highlight the benefits of beekeeping
- Key anniversaries celebrated including MV Empire Windrush, Capel Manor College, Help for Heroes and Bees for Development
This year’s Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Chelsea Flower Show (22 – 26 May), sponsored by M&G Investments, will demonstrate cutting edge science and technology as the Discovery Zone returns to the Great Pavilion.
From the increasing threat posed by pests and diseases to the benefits of bees and take-home urban inspiration, the Discovery Zone offers the chance to get up close and personal with a wide variety of educational exhibits. Significant anniversaries will be celebrated and explored, including a decade of Help for Heroes, 50 years of Capel Manor College, and a 70th anniversary celebration of the voyage of the famous MV Empire Windrush from the Caribbean to Tilbury Docks.
Action for Oaks
The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) highlight the importance of Oak trees and the iconic part they play across the British countryside, making up 16% of our broadleaf woodland and supporting more than 2000 other species. Air and soil pollutants, pests and diseases and changing weather patterns are threatening British Oaks, this interactive display highlights how we can protect them for future generations.
Over the past 25 years, Bees for Development has helped some of the poorest people in the world to keep bees and break out of poverty by using honey and beeswax to create income to pay for food and education, giving young people without land or opportunity the chance to create a sustainable livelihood. Examples of the charity’s work across the globe will be on display, from their beehives in Africa to ‘Bee Houses’ designed for gardens around the UK, each of which can house up to 50,000 honey bees.
Plants from Across the Atlantic
Birmingham City Council, who have exhibited in the Great Pavilion with consecutive gold medals since 2011, make their Discovery Zone debut with a vibrant display in celebration of the 70th anniversary of the voyage of HMT Empire Windrush from the Caribbean to Tilbury in Essex. Working with RHS Ambassador Baroness Floella Benjamin, the exhibit will portray the personal experiences of people moving from the Caribbean to start a new life in Britain, featuring a mixture of plants from both regions and demonstrating the important part allotments played in helping different communities to integrate.
Indoor Garden Design’s (IGD) second co-creation with Ikea demonstrates a range of houseplants creatively displayed within a home office environment, providing information on how ‘greening up’ work spaces can significantly improve productivity. #plantswork explains the different benefits selected plants can offer when used in this particular setting, and aims to show how Biophilia – the suggestion that there is an instinctive bond between human beings and other living systems – works to improve our wellbeing by connecting us with nature.
The Force for Good by Sparsholt College aims to highlight the positive experiences horticultural therapy has on individuals going through recovery supported by the Help for Heroes charity. Celebrating its 10th anniversary, Help for Heroes hope the exhibit will demonstrate how gardening can aid physical recovery and improve mental health for all.
Other highlights in the Discovery Zone include:
- Celebrating their 50th (golden) anniversary, leading environmental college Capel Manor College will explore how the colour yellow is important in pollination and why breeders prize the colour, looking in detail at the role of pigments and exploring the science behind yellow in the Plant Kingdom, The display will feature 50 different yellow plants including trees, shrubs, herbaceous, grasses and bulb.
- The River of Flowers’ Honeycomb Meadow Bee Garden is designed to bring a meadow to the heart of the city. Constructed using mobile and interlinking hexagonal planters, it appears to ‘float’ over barren urban spaces, covering them with nectar-rich wildflowers to feed bees and other creatures that aid pollination.
- A first time exhibit from Vegepods will feature fully contained, self-watering, efficient organic raised gardens, educating visitors on the importance and principles of urban farming.
- The Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) presents ‘The Great Escape’, full of take home inspiration how to transform any outdoor space into a multitude of escapes, from a gym, to a kitchen, to a place of pure beauty and serenity.
- Visitors are invited to come along and visit the ‘Weed Clinic’ hosted by the Property Care Association, providing advice and a better understanding of how to manage those invasive non-native plants, desired and undesired, found in our gardens.
Tickets for RHS Chelsea Flower Show (22 – 26 May) are now available at: www.rhs.org.uk/chelsea