Gnomes Welcomed at 100th RHS Chelsea Flower Show

by Bethany Day on April 29, 2013

To celebrate its centenary year the RHS Chelsea Flower Show has announced that it is lifting its ban on garden gnomes.

Gnomes, along with other ‘brightly coloured mythical creatures’ such as fairies and pixies, have been banned from the prestigious flower show for 100 years because the RHS claim that they are too distracting for visitors who have come to see the beautiful flowers and plants.

Many people however, believe that the real reason for the ban is snobbery with garden gnomes considered to be too “tacky” for Chelsea. In fact every year, it’s not uncommon to see people dressed as gnomes protesting at the gates of the flower show. Others have broken the rules, like herb garden expert Jekka McVicar who at her last exhibit in 2009 included a gnome in her display as an act of defiance.

This year, not only are the RHS permitting garden gnomes to be displayed, they are wholly embracing the concept as part of their centenary celebrations. Many famous celebrities including Dame Maggie Smith and Rob Brydon have been invited to paint gnomes which will feature in the show before being auctioned off to raise money for the RHS Campaign for School Gardening. 150 of the decorated gnomes will also be lined up in parade for inspection by the Queen during her royal visit.

So far the public’s reaction to this U-turn has been very positive, with many thinking it’s about time the ban was lifted, not least because the garden gnome is far older than the show itself. Talking to the Guardian newspaper, RHS Director-General Sue Biggs said: “It is important for people to realise we have got a sense of ¬humour and don’t take ourselves too seriously.”

But don’t get too excited – gnomes are only allowed in exhibits for the duration of this years Chelsea before the ban returns in 2014.


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Bethany Day

Blogger and online PR guru for Interflora UK. Interested in guest-posting on our blog? Email blog@interflora.co.uk or connect with me.

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Post category: RHS Chelsea Flower Show  

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Alex@florists putney 29 Apr 2013 at 3:54 pm

I don’t get why gnomes have banned in the first place, yes they “can” be tacky, however iv’e worked in a garden center for 3 years and always include gnomes in displays, if used correctly all they do is add character to your display, obviously if you have a dirty old gnome on show it will look bad. Berry the gnomes, ive recently mixed a bunch of winter pansy with a gnome among them which is hardly noticeable, when people do notice they often comment about how well it works. I don’t mean to rant but its like double denim, people were given the chance and they abused it with all sorts of mishaps.

Tez 28 May 2013 at 10:03 pm

The RHS allowed them this year, mainly for their own means of gaining money. The RHS have no rights to ban them in the first place, as its peoples rights to like them or not. The RHS are snobs in our opinion, they already have plenty of money as a charity, yet they always want more. Our membership will finish with them this year, as too much snobbery.

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