Mark Fane explains why 2024 is the last RHS Chelsea show garden build for Crocus

Mark Fane has verified that Crocus will stop building show gardens and growing plants for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show after 2024.

Andy Sturgeon's RHS Chelsea Show Garden

In January, Tom Stuart-Smith, designer of their 2024 show garden, confirmed rumours of it being their “last ever” RHS Chelsea. To date, Crocus had yet to verify this was the case, now confirmed by Mark Fane in a Gardens’ Illustrated interview article, published yesterday.

Crocus, led by Mark Fane and Peter Clay have built an impressive 36 RHS Chelsea Show Gardens for many of the world’s best designers, such as Stuart-Smith, Dan Pearson, Andy Sturgeon, Cleve West and Sarah Price for which they have accumulated an incredible 33 gold medals and won over 10 ‘Best in Show’. For 2024, Crocus is building the ‘National Garden Scheme Garden’, designed by Tom Stuart Smith and the ‘Muscular Dystrophy UK – Forest Bathing Garden‘ designed by Ula Maria.

According to Crocus it’s down to simple economics. A show garden requires at least 8,000 plants of the highest quality, which requires extensive planning, resources and capital. Considering the rising costs, participation is no longer commercial viable. In addition, one needs to consider the high opportunity cost of shifting the focus from the nursery to the show, at its busiest time of year.

Apart from the need for a well earned rest after 20+ years of show gardens, Fane is also quoted in the GI article as finding the “changing face of the show” a challenge, “with new regulations and a lack of interest in the work landscapers and growers do at the show making it difficult”.

Crocus shall be much missed at the show, by designer and visitors alike. Thoughout their RHS Chelsea reign, Crocus produced some of the most beautiful, memorable, infinitely detailed and refined show gardens the show has ever seen. Fane and Clay have always been tenacious, competitive, rigorous in their planning, committed and ambitious in their RHS Chelsea endeavours, and it showed. Thirty three times. Ten of which, best ever.

Kudos gentlemen. Kudos.

Most memorable Crocus show gardens

Too many to choose from, but these are some of our favourites:

  1. 2023 The Nurture Landscapes Garden designer by Sarah Price
  2. 2008 Laurent-Perrier Garden designed by Tom Stuart-Smith
  3. 2015 Laurent-Perrier Garden designed by Dan Pearson
  4. 2017 The M&G Garden designed by James Basson
  5. 2008 The M&G Garden designed by Andy Sturgeon