Turns out that this year, the biggest idea is more green, and fewer flowers. "While blue and purple flowers have dominated the Show Gardens the past few years, this year the Main Avenue is awash with shades of green," the Royal Horticultural Society reports.
Lush foliage is making more of a statement than colored blooms, "with strong lines of hedges, tall palms and sculptured Buxus." Among the most eye-catching installations: Giant white metal and mesh daisies, with mass plantings of ferns, sculptured box, bamboos, grasses, rosemary and thyme. Don't worry--there are flowers, too. The QVC Garden, for example, is chock full of lupins, irises and foxgloves.
Another exhibit which is expected to draw larger-than-usual crowds is "From Life to Life: A Garden for George," inspired by the late George Harrison. "A psychedelic mosaic path leads through the colorful herbaceous planting up to marbled terrace," the RHS reports, adding that British Formula One champ Damon Hill will drive Ringo Starr in George Harrison's Mini to the garden on opening day.
Conservation, which has become an increasingly important theme in the show's splashy exhibits over the years, will be front and center this year, too. Ratty's Refuge, inspired by the children's classic, The Wind in the Willows, is intended to underscore the struggles of the water vole, the fastest-declining species of mammal in the UK.
Sponsored by Marshalls, a large landscaping retailer in the UK, the show's colors, visuals and scents have always been an inspiration for fashion designers, as well. This year, shoe designer Manolo Blahnik has created a limited-edition rose print RHS Chelsea Flower Show shoe (very limited--only 10 pairs will be made.)
Susannah Hunter, a handbag designer with a celebrity following that includes Uma Thurman and Nicole Kidman, has designed a RHS Chelsea Flower Show Bloomsbury Bag. And textile legend Liberty of London is selling scarves with hand-painted garden designs.