Exclusive: Behind the Scenes at Chelsea Flower Show

Sophie Allport RHS Chelsea Pensioners

With 165,000 visitors descending on London to admire breathtaking displays, beautiful designs and buckets of creativity, it can only mean one thing… the 2016 RHS Chelsea Flower Show is on! For the sixth year in a row, the team at Sophie Allport have beavered away behind the scenes in the months leading up to the world renowned event, setting up a carefully designed exhibitor stand. Was it worth it? Absolutely! We loved inhaling the sweet perfume of sun kissed blossoms over the weekend, we ‘oohed’ and ‘ahhed’ at the creative genius of horticulturists, garden designers, landscapers and more, and we really enjoy meeting and greeting our customers, old and new! But do you want to know what else we got up to...? Read on to find out!

Team George - Sophie Allport at RHS Chelsea

Setting up…
The Sophie Allport team are well versed with the logistical challenge of setting up shop amongst a floral fantasyland in the heart of London. We work together to construct our stand, exhibiting our newest and best-selling products with an unrelenting smile and injection of British cheer – whatever the weather!


But, we have to tell you – the real professionals are the garden designers and show organisers at Chelsea Flower Show… Did you know that the Show Gardens are built from scratch, taking a highly skilled and carefully coordinated team just twenty days to turn an almost empty space into a garden designer’s dream? Incredible! And, if that wasn’t enough, don’t forget there are 500+ exhibitor stands to coordinate too, requiring that teams like ours are prepared well ahead of time and are willing to go that extra mile in order to be ready for the first day of the show!


The excitement...
Once we’re set up and ready, the fun really begins… Picture thousands of people walking the equivalent of two football pitches among vivid, vibrant and vivacious flower displays, sipping an average of 10,832 glasses of champagne and 7,720 glasses of Pimms, while TV presenters and celebrities (and even the Royal Family!) mingle with lucky ticket holders. This year, eagle eyed members of the Sophie Allport team spotted The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry, Naomie Harris and Mary Berry. We had some lovely famous customers on the stand including Kirstie Allsopp, Anton du Beke and Dame Judi Dench and even managed to get a ‘girl power’ photo with former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell!

Sophie Allport with Geri Haliwell

Sophie Allport & Anton du Beke

The awards…
So, who scooped what!? Officially Martin Cook and Gary Breeze were named Best Fresh Garden for their incredible ‘Marble and Granite Centre – Antithesis of Sarcophagi.’ Our favourite garden? We love the Husqvarna garden designed by Charlie Albone with its beautiful structures and stunning array of foxgloves and peonies, not forgetting the stunning poppies – Sophie’s all time favourite flowers.


We are totally inspired by Cleve West and his amazing M&G garden and Sophie was lucky enough to meet him on press day. A very well deserved gold winner! Positioned opposite the Sophie Allport stand his garden is another of our favourites showcasing very natural and soft planting ... lovely lilacs and soft yellows.

Of course, we couldn’t end without telling you that the Sophie Allport Team won another award this year! Last year we were thrilled to scoop a four-star award for our stand, and this year we’re absolutely delighted to have won our first five-star award (a labour of love after so many months of designing and planning followed by a big effort to construct it in the week before the show!) Who knows what next year holds for all of us at the Chelsea Flower Show? We’ll be sure to let you know!


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