The Secrets of a Chelsea Garden with Tom Stuart-Smith & Peter Clay

A look behind the scenes as to what it takes to create a show garden for RHS Chelsea with Tom Stuart-Smith and Peter Clay, the founder of Crocus.

Tom Stuart-Smith and Peter Clay
© Julie Skelton

An online talk, organised by the National Garden Scheme (NGS), during which Tom Stuart-Smith will explain his affection for the National Garden Scheme, built up over 30 years of opening his own garden in Hertfordshire and responsible for tempting him back to Chelsea after an absence of 14 years. Stuart-Smith is designing the National Garden Scheme show garden for RHS Chelsea 2024, which has been funded by Project Giving Back.

Stuart-Smith will reveal the inspiration for his design and planting, how he hopes it will project the philosophy and principles of the National Garden Scheme, and how the future site of the Maggie’s Centre has played a part in his vision.

Peter Clay will unveil the fascinating complexity and skill involved in creating a Chelsea show garden to gold medal standard. Over the years, Crocus has amassed 33 gold medals at Chelsea over 23 years of planting and constructing show gardens. Clay will explain the daunting combination of long-term planning and restricted time, meticulous sourcing of plants and all the other elements in the garden from trusted sources, and the achievement of the elusive alchemy which brings everything together à point on the appointed day. He will also reveal why the third week in May is the perfect few days for a flower show in Britain and together he and Stuart-Smith will give a riveting insight into this most challenging of gardening achievements.

This is only the second time in the charity’s history, that the National Garden Scheme is having a large show garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. After Chelsea the garden will live on as the central part of the garden for a new Maggie’s Centre at Addenbrook’s Hospital in Cambridge, Maggie’s being one of the National Garden Scheme’s major long-term beneficiaries.

The Secrets of a Chelsea Garden will take place on Tuesday the 9th April 2024. Tickets for the talk can be purchased through the NGS.