RHS Chelsea Flower Show – Behind the Scenes

Some of you may or may not be aware that this week is the start of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. This year I have been lucky enough to get involved with the setting up work, and see what goes on behind-the-scenes before the show is opened to the public.

Lilies!

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A friend from Eden put me in touch with HW Hyde and Son, they are a family-run nursery who specialise in lilies. I never knew you could get so many different species and cultivars of lilies!

The Hydes are so knowledgeable and skilled at what they do, check out their website: http://www.hwhyde.co.uk. The photos of lilies are fabulous, there’s great growing advice there too.

Lily close-ups

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The Hydes don’t put together a show garden, they arrange a floral exhibit in the Great Pavilion and have done at Chelsea for years. They have nine Gold medals to their name, fingers crossed this year will be number ten!

When I arrived at Chelsea I couldn’t believe my eyes, the place was literally like a building site! People in hi-viz clothing were dodging round lorries and JCB’s, there were plants everywhere, stepladders in pathways. . . it was insane! I even saw someone hoovering round their show garden, if that’s not perfection then I don’t know what is!

Martagon Lilies

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It was totally different to seeing it on TV, the whole place is much smaller than I imagined. Mind you it was pretty claustrophobic with so much going on!

Even though you could sense how stressed everyone was the vibe was still amazing. The pressure of getting exhibits and gardens immaculate was obvious, those little finishing touches are the difference to winning a medal or not. 

The Hydes Lily Exhibit

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This is where we were in the Great Pavilion!

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I had a fantastic time helping the Hydes set up their exhibit, they are lovely people with a great sense of humour – an essential at Chelsea, a bit of banter lifts the mood instantly! I helped unload the lilies from the lorry, some were towering above me at 7 foot high – I was terrified of dropping them!

Me rocking the hi-viz!

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The lilies are displayed in big beds, with fake fencing around the beds. Once the lilies were in position I was touching up the paintwork by hand, making sure it looked pristine. I also spread ornamental bark around the lilies, to make it look extra smart. There were five beds in total and we finished three in one day. Not bad going!

More lily close-ups

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As a thank-you for helping out the Hydes gave me three free passes into Chelsea on Saturday. It was a wonderful surprise for my parents who I will be taking with me, neither of them have been to Chelsea before.

I’m also going in the week too, at work we arranged to go before I even knew I would be helping set up. I’ve gone from never going to Chelsea before to being there three times in one week an incredible first time experience!

A double lily

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I’m really looking forward to seeing the exhibits and gardens finished, instead of how it looked during the setting up process. Watch this space for more of Chelsea! 🙂

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13 thoughts on “RHS Chelsea Flower Show – Behind the Scenes

  1. Beautiful Becka! No doubt your parents will be thrilled and proud as the proverbial peacocks! I never knew there were so many amazing varieties. Léa 🙂 x

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  2. Wonderful photos Becky! And how fab to be helping here! I love the orange and purple lily! I hope you and tour parents have a great time, and only you will still to be able to see what it all looked like before! 😊 xx

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    • Your comment did go into my spam box Christine, I don’t know why! Thank you though! Seeing all the different varieties of lilies was fantastic, I can’t wait to go again at the weekend 😀 x

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  3. Lovely lilies (with no lily beetle!!) I hope you aren’t too tired with all your hard work to enjoy the Chelsea experience. I would love to go but – expense/crowds etc have put me off so far. I will enjoy it through your eyes and the TV coverage!

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    • There was no lily beetle in sight! They are nasty pests! I am knackered at the moment but it has all been worth it, it’s an experience I wouldn’t have missed for anything.
      Luckily with the free passes we can get in early before the public are allowed in – perks of the job! I think the TV coverage is great, enjoy it from the comfort of your home 🙂 thank you for reading and commenting! x

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