First September Chelsea Flower Show features pumpkins, dahlias and seed-heads

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Pumpkins, dahlias and seed-heads will be taking centre stage in displays at the Chelsea Flower Show when it takes place in September for the first time.

The Royal Horticultural Society’s (RHS) world-famous event in London was cancelled last year and postponed from May this year because of the pandemic.

It is expected to have a very different feel this year due to the change in season for the event, which will be for one year only.

The RHS said the show will make the most of the more autumnal time of year, with harvest fruit and vegetables on display, including at the Italian-inspired “great pavilion piazza” which will feature seasonal asters and dahlias as well as pumpkins and squashes.

How the Great Pavilion Piazza will look (Villaggio Verde/PA)
How the Great Pavilion Piazza will look (Villaggio Verde/PA)

Trees full of fruit and berries will be making an appearance, while the spring greenery of ferns and hostas will give way to grasses in the show’s great pavilion and in gardens including the Guide Dogs’ 90th anniversary garden, the Yeo Valley Organic Garden and the Boodles Secret Garden.

Foliage in autumn colours will also feature, while seed-heads which add interest to gardens later in the year are being used instead of the blooms that would normally be seen in the show in May.

Late summer flowers such as asters and dahlias will be centre stage at the show, along with penstemon, late-flowering salvias, autumn varieties of camellias and alstroemeria, or Peruvian lilies.

Spring bulbs will be replaced with autumn flowering bulbs, normally a rare sight at RHS Chelsea, with nerines, Colchium, or autumn crocus, and Eucomis – pineapple lilies – on display, while visitors will be able to buy spring bulbs to plant for flowering next year.

Grasses will feature in many displays
Grasses will feature in many displays (Joanna Kossak/RHS/PA)

The show will also feature tropical plants and topiary which look good in autumn, the RHS said.

Helena Pettit, RHS director of gardens and shows, said: “We know what a challenge the change in season has presented for our exhibitors and their amazing displays are a real testament to the skills and expertise of the growers, designers, contractors and everyone involved.

“This year’s RHS Chelsea promises to be a unique moment in history, with new colour palettes, seasonal produce and later flowering plants that autumn brings, alongside many plants and new exhibitors that we may not usually see at the show in May.”

Tickets are still available for this year’s show, which is taking place over six days from September 21-26. It will revert to its usual five-day late May slot in 2022.

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