RHS Chelsea Flower Show

RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Koi fit for a King

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) was founded in 1804 to promote horticulture as a scientific and leisure activity within the UK. This it does through its membership, publications, its public gardens and its annual flower shows. Of the latter the most famous is the one held at the Royal Chelsea Hospital since 1912 known as the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show includes sellers of plants and gardening equipment, but the main draw is the display of gardens. These gardens are designed and created from scratch by both amateur and commercial companies and afterwards are often sold or donated around the country to live on permanently.

Chelsea is a part of London which is not far from the domain of the South East Koi Club. Last year two of our members were invited to build a Japanese inspired garden and for the first time in the history of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, the Great Pavilion exhibit contained livestock – Nishikigoi.

This year’s exhibit not only included Koi, but also a Torii Gate, bridge and stream and for this year’s efforts they were awarded a Silver-Guilt Medal.

Those members were Matthew Ball and Daran Wood, both of whom have experience in construction. These days Matthew is the proprietor of Clearwater Koi which excludes him from exhibiting at our koi show but which he still supports by taking a trade stand every year. Daran remains a hobbyist and helps with the running of the show as well as exhibiting his koi.

Construction of the gardens began on the 13th May 2024 with the show being open to the public from the 21st to the 25th May. This year our guys chose to create a garden with a difference.

“Accessible oriental oasis” and “Groundbreaking accessible garden experience” were terms used by the media to describe their garden. Accessible is the key word here because it was designed to ensure people with various disabilities could enjoy the garden too. Wide, level pathways were incorporated to aid that, and the raised pond and flower beds complemented them. To add to the experience a descriptive commentary and sounds further enriched the experience for all visitors especially those with visual impairments. Our boys could be duly proud.

But that wasn’t all. The garden is unlikely to be forgotten. Discussions are underway with the National Rehabilitation Centre (NRC) to relocate the garden permanently at their premisses.

And finally; King Charles III visited on the Sunday.

Members of my UK koi club have done some amazing things over the years, and now we can boast that two of our members had the honour of talking Nishikigoi with our king.

* The Royal Horticultural Society RHS was founded in 1804 to promote to promote horticulture as a scientific and leisure activity within the UK_MB 280524(1)