Small Space Gardening at RHS Chelsea

Visitors to RHS Chelsea will notice a new look to the show in 2021, with the colour and planting of Autumn being celebrated for first time. Another notable first will be the recognition of small space gardening for the first time in 108 years, thanks to the huge growth in urban gardening during lockdown.

Alongside the traditional Show Gardens the RHS are introducing two new categories to give inspiration and ideas for small space gardening. One of the new categories is Container Gardens. This category will show just how much you can create incontainers and planters, enabling you to vary your display and move things around to where they can be best enjoyed, or even to grow a variety of salad and vegetables to enjoy freshfrom your doorstep! 

One of the many designs is The IBC Pocket Forest by Sara Edwards, which is inspired by the balconies of Milan's Bosco Verticale and tiny urban forests utilising the Miyawaki method.

The IBC Pocket Forest - Sara Edwards

A lot of people who have become interested in gardening love to see show gardens, but have very small gardens," said Gemma Lake, show manager for Chelsea, in an interview about this new approach. "We noticed a huge increase in people who have become interested in gardening, a lot of whom are new home owners or renting in cities so we thought it would be really nice to have a balcony gardens category as a great inspiration for people starting out in their own properties."

As well as Container Gardens, balconies will also feature strongly with designers such as Alexandra Noble and James Smith creating a luxurious and lush outdoor feel in just a few square metres – you can re-create the look by making the most of any walls in the garden to grow plants vertically on trellis,hanging pots anddecorative plant supports, to create height, soften hard edges and give a sense of enclosure. 


Green Sky Pocket Garden - James Smith

The ‘Green Sky Pocket Garden’ by James Smith is designed as an oasis away from busy city life and Alexandra Noble’s ‘Balcony of Blooms’ features planting for pollinators and culinary herbs – a beautiful and functional way of maximising the benefits of a small space.

Balcony of Blooms - Alexander NobleMany of the design ideas from these small garden spaces can be used tocreate distinct areas within a bigger garden too – a courtyard, terrace or even window box are all opportunities to focus on the detail and enjoy getting close up to your planting in a way that larger spaces don’t always allow.

If you are looking for more inspiration for your small garden space see our 10 Ideas for Small Garden Spaces.