The RHS Chelsea Flower Show gardens that had the biggest impact on me at this year's event

These show gardens were moving and impactful in equal measure, truly inspiring

collage of three garden pictures taken to show my RHS Chelsea Flower show highlights
(Image credit: Tamara Kelly : The Friendship Garden | Stroke Association's Garden for Recovery | The Water Saving Garden)

I had the pleasure of attending the RHS Chelsea Flower Show this week, which is always a joy but I found myself more enamoured than ever before by the powerful messages behind many of the show gardens this year.

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show is the pinnacle of garden events, with plenty of esteemed attendees including royalty and celebrities – it's the show of all shows to attend for glorious garden trends and inspiration. 

And while all the gardens are enormously inspiring I found myself moved by several underlying themes that felt significant to savour amongst all the beautiful blooms on display.

RHS Chelsea Flower Show highlights 2024: my personal favourites

My RHS Chelsea Flower Show highlights demonstrate how garden design is changing and how now, more than ever, they are so valuable for better health and wellbeing.

1. Forest Bathing Garden

Collage of the forest bathing Garden as part of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show highlights

(Image credit: Future |Tamara Kelly)

This outstanding display won the 'Best in Show' Gold award, and quite rightly so. The garden used trees and water in a way that instantly soothed the soul, as if immersed in a forest far far away (not in the heart of London).

Designed by Ula Maria this garden offered an accessible, immersive forest bathing experience with over 50 beautiful silver birch trees and 4000 plants. The garden concept was inspired by those living with Muscular Dystrophy to highlight the power of nature and its healing properties.

"This garden is all about connections: whether to oneself, nature or others," Ula explains. "It is meant to serve as a sanctuary whilst offering an immersive forest experience. I hope that this garden will increase awareness of how places that are inspired by the people who inhabit them can have a meaningful effect. on communities."

After the show, this immersive garden will be relocated to the public garden space at the Institute of Development and Regenerative Medicine in Oxford where groundbreaking research takes place.

2. The Water Saving Garden

collage of The Water Saving garden as a RHS Chelsea Flower Show highlight of 2024

(Image credit: Future |Tamara Kelly)

This small but mighty garden was the first stop on my Chelsea exploration, and to say it set the bar high early is an understatement. The garden was designed by talented garden designer Sam Proctor of Chiltern Garden Design in association with Affinity Water, with a shared passion to highlight the importance of reducing water wastage. 

I clearly wasn't the only one who loved the garden, it was awarded a Bronze Medal by the RHS judges. I also hear on good authority that His Majesty the King stopped to appreciate the thoughtful design during his visit – commenting on the charming succulent planters framed on the wall.

What I love about the design is how it highlights how rainwater harvesting ideas can be used with greater effect, in even the smallest of plots. Rainwater collects in a dedicated copper guttering and travels down the complementary rain chain to a water butt below. The water is then directed to a reservoir at the base of the planters to water the roots directly. 

Sam tells me "Because the plants aren't being watered from above, there's less evaporation from the soil's surface, saving 30% of the water typically required".  Who knew? This concept space opened my eyes to how smart sustainable gardening ideas can be – and why they are so important. 

3. The Stroke Association's Garden for Recovery

compilation of the Garden of recover Rhs Chelsea Flower Show highlights

(Image credit: Getty Images | Dave Benett / Contributor | Tamara Kelly)

This powerfully moving garden was designed by Miria Harris, and funded by Project Giving Back. The message was simple but so significant that gardens are restorative and essential in supporting so many in an almost incomprehensible way.

The Bronze winning 'Garden for Recovery' is a space for anyone who needs to relax, reflect and reconnect. Designer Miria drew inspiration from her own experience of surviving a stroke, as well as the many others affected by the impact a stroke can have on not only those who suffer but the loved ones around them. 

The garden design, with its interconnecting paths lined with thoughtful trees and harmonious flora, symbolises this. The fragrance, colour and sounds of water all provide 'soft way-finding for those with visual or mobility impairments.'

"The trees are strongly emblematic of the stroke recovery process," says Miria. "That it's not linear or straightforward or perfect. But it is possible." Inspiring and so valuable to so many, as this beautiful garden will be relocated after the show adjacent to the stroke unit at Chapel Allerton Hospital, part of the Leeds Trust.

4. The Friendship Garden

RHS Chelsea Flower show highlights

(Image credit: Future |Tamara Kelly)

This magnificent 'RHS Feature Garden' was a real showstopper for me, thanks to the rainbow-coloured planting scheme and the statement glass-like sculpture that scaled over the top of the garden. 

The concept is a heartwarming one of uniting those who love gardening – simple but so sublime.

"This garden commemorates RHS Britain in Blom's 60th Anniversary and celebrates the amazing relationship that forms when people garden together in their communities, " say the RHS. "It is a space where people can come together, appreciate the sights, scents and sounds of the garden, and make new connections."

Of course, this is just a taster of the magnificent botanical displays. It was almost too overwhelming to curate my 'favourites' but these were simple gardens that left me feeling more aware of the power of gardens and the importance they play in our everyday lives. 

Be that healing spaces, sociable plots or our own little cosmos to make the wider world a better place – gardens of all shapes and sizes have a part to play in our well-being. 

Tamara Kelly
Lifestyle Editor

Tamara is a highly experienced homes and interiors journalist, with a career spanning 22 years. Now the Lifestyle Editor of, she has spent the last 17 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, and it’s with these award-winning interiors teams that she gained a wealth of knowledge and honed her skills and passion for styling and writing about every aspect of lifestyle and interiors.

A true homes and interiors expert, Tamara has served as an ambassador for leading interior brands on multiple occasions, including appearing on Matalan’s The Show and presenting at top interior trend forecasting events such as the Autumn Fair and Spring Fair.