RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2024 | enki’s top picks from the show

The end of May saw Chelsea back in bloom for another year running. Sloane Square’s pavements were petalled from top to toe, the shopfronts a sea of stemmed sensations all vying for best-in-show and The Royal Hospital Chelsea hosted another instalment of its ever-iconic RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

Beckoning the green-fingered from across the globe, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show is the floral event of the year, celebrating horticultural excellence and inspiring garden innovation. Exhibiting everything from sculptural assets to add a touch of architecture to your outdoor space to ideas for getting creative when it comes to styling smaller balconies, the show delivers something for everyone.

This year, enki headed into its green depths and here we round-up our favourites from each sector of the show.

Show Garden | The WaterAid Garden

Photos courtesy of RHS Chelsea Flower Show

For enki, our favourite show garden from the Chelsea Flower Show 2024 had to be this corten vision from Tom Massey and Je Ahn (Studio Weave), which offers a new and creative take on sustainable water management.

Beyond a commitment to the re-purposing and reclamation of materials, the success of this project is in its rainwater-harvesting pavilion; a design that speaks directly to WaterAid’s work in developing sustainable water solutions.

Standing as large metal funnels, the pavilion collects, filters and stores every drop of rain to re-use for drinking and irrigation. Together, these funnels create a steel canopy that also provides shade when needed.

Bearing the same materiality as the pavilion, a metal path traces through the planting and features openings to allow water to easily pass through.

Alnus glutinosa ‘Pyramidalis’ emerge though the pavilion, part of a planting scheme chosen principally for resilience and biodiversity. The planting is textured and colourful, shifting from denser, wetter, lowland areas to sparser, dryer upland character with the garden’s shifting topography.

Sponsored by Project Giving Back in support of WaterAid, we’re unsurprised this garden took home a Gold Medal.

Outdoor Furniture | Neptune

Curating al fresco idyll, Neptune showcased a few standouts from its outdoor collection at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Presenting its new limited-edition collection by renowned textile house Christopher Farr Cloth, as well as the launch of The Glassette Edit at Neptune, we couldn’t help but swoon over the outdoor set-up at the show.

Under an oak pergola, Glassette co-founder Laura Jackson brings a summer table (comprising Neptune’s Pembrey table skirted by Longmeadow dining chairs) to life with an eclectic tablescape that was made for entertaining. Surrounded by whimsical foxgloves and geraniums, you can just imagine long summer evenings spent gathered around the table, grazing in the open air with friends and family.

From dining to lounging, the brand also presented a more relaxed approach to the outdoor experience with its new Kew range. In a new collaboration with Christopher Farr Cloth, the chairs are enlivened with a Sicilian edge as they get upholstered in Raya, a classic stripe in a blue ‘Turchese’ colourway (a one-off created just for the collab).

CEO of Neptune, Aalish York-Long, shares, “Neptune’s first ever product was an outdoor hammock, so it’s fitting that we can celebrate our outdoor collections at the show. The Neptune stand perfectly captures our Summer 24 collection, inspired by natural shapes and honest materials, reflecting our dedication to fine craftsmanship and style.”

Garden Sculpture | David Harber

Photos by Clive Nichols

David Harber are no stranger to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, and so where better to celebrate 30 years of design that at the show itself. Unveiling Armillary 30 in honour of this milestone, the designer re-creates one of his very first designs with interactive twists that bring this equatorial sundial up to date.

“Our desire was to create a contemporary timepiece that revels in the magic of solar time but, through the mechanism of turning the handle, the piece becomes uniquely interactive.”

As part of every commission of the anniversary piece, the Armillary 30 will be personalised with the clients’ scribe of choice – be that a personal motto, a name, date, dedication or even a personal quote that turns this sphere into an heirloom.

Available in antique bronze, Verdigris bronze or a mirror polished stainless steel, with prices starting from £15,650.

Balcony Garden | The Addleshaw Goddard Junglette Garden

Photos courtesy of RHS Chelsea Flower Show

There are some gardens you can’t help but want to delve into, with lush planting as intriguing as it is inviting. A garden like this jungle-esque conception from Mike McMahon and Jewlsy Mathews. Inspired by their own junglette balconies in King’s Cross, this vision brings a touch of tranquility to the urban sphere – offering a template for city dwellers whose only outdoor space is the confines of their balcony.

Within the cocoon of greenery, a clever layering of tropical varieties that mimics the structure of the jungle, a seating area welcomes you with unfurling paper chairs designed and built by Mike himself. It’s a spot to find respite and to revive.

“A striking folded back wall, crafted from recycled paper, echoes the jungle’s strata, bringing depth to the space, and the bespoke, unfurling paper chairs are inspired by the unfurling of young fern.”This sanctuary is more than mere aesthetics; it is a haven for biodiversity. Bird nests, integrated bat boxes and a serene pond intertwine with the landscape, nurturing life’s rich tapestry.”

Now the show is over, the oval decking will be re-purposed into dining and coffee tables to ensure circularity, and the garden will be fully re-homed.

Outdoor Tent | Raj Tent Club

Photos by Laura Martha Photography

If you’re on hosting duty for any summer soirees, you need to turn your eye to Raj Tent Club. Available for full purchase or to rent, the designs offer something a little (well, a lot!) more luxe than your standard garden marquees.

Exhibiting three of its pergola tents at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, we saw how pattern and colour can really make a difference to the feel of your outdoor space. United by a lush green palette, each of the pergolas presented a slightly different atmosphere.

The green and cream striped lining oozed intimacy, creating an outdoor living room that is cosy and quaint, whereas the hanging flower print blurred the lines between indoor and out – offering shelter while also still ensuring a feeling of being outside and at one with the elements.

Seasonal flowers and plants brought the scene to life and were styled by British florist Juliet Glaves.

Outdoor Architecture | Steel Landscaping Co

It’s not just about what plants you have, it’s about what you do with them. How you present them. For more of an architectural touch, we loved Steel Landscaping Co’s showcase.

Designing everything from steel fencing and weave, to sweeping arches and water features, the brand helps you to organise your outdoor space with ease and an aesthetic edge.

Founded by Ed Powell, an experienced landscaper with a back ground in surveying, the portfolio of steel designs celebrates the versatility of the material as well as British craftsmanship. The wall planters were a particular favourite of enki’s!

Sanctuary Garden | The Flood Resilient Garden

Photos courtesy of RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Showcasing the true potential of this Sanctuary Garden with short spells of improvised rain, Naomi Slade and Dr Ed Barsley carefully crafted a green space with the intention of reducing flood risk.

Beyond its aesthetic properties, dense planting has been rooted into the design to ultimately slow the flow of heavy rainfall while also collecting droplets that can be stored and re-used later on.
“Flooding is a growing issue in the UK. One in four homes are at risk of damage to property and gardens, and the associated physical and psychological trauma. The Flood Re (sponsors): The Flood Resilient Garden will be inspiring, aesthetically pleasing, and full of useful ideas to future-proof our gardens and address the disruption that flooding brings.” 

Growhouse | Hartley Botanic

There’s greenhouses, and then there’s carefully crafted glass pavilions that are as much of a design statement as they are vessel for plant growth. Hartley Botanic fall into the latter half.

At the RHS Chelsea Flower Show this year, the brand exhibited four of its structures (two of which were demonstrated in new colourways) as well as water butts, potting tables, and staging end panels.

Our pick? The Victorian Manor Glasshouse. Despite its traditional form and shape, its matt black powder coating catapults this glazed design into the contemporary realm. It is one of the larger offerings but with ambitions to grow-your-own only rising – a structure like this will certainly accelerate proceedings.

To Shop | Bramley

Beyond the gardens, flora and fauna, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show is also lined with stalls to shop from. Many of the brands are inspired by the natural world and we were thrilled to see Bramley front and centre of the shopping parade.

Taking from the Great British countryside, its range of natural bath and body products are packed with botanical magic that allow you a little luxury in your day to day.

For more from the RHS click here.

Or head back to enki for more design news here.

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