Kent’s only rural and land-based college shone at what is often called ‘the greatest flower show on earth’, winning a bronze medal in the Discovery Zone at the prestigious RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

Chelsea Flower Show Hadlow College Exhibit 2024 v2

Hadlow College took its place amongst world-renowned garden designers, plant specialists, florists, and nurseries at the event, which ran from 21 May to 25 May.

Its innovative ‘Grow Your Mind’ exhibit highlighted the importance of modern horticultural practices in food production, biodiversity conservation and landscape design, whilst celebrating the many, and varied, careers available in horticulture and floristry and how horticulture affects and influences the modern world.

Chelsea Flowe Show Set up

Divided into three sections, the design included a modern vertical orchard, tomato glasshouse and a public garden, all centred around a large, upturned tree stump incorporating a bonsai tree, symbolic of the vital work of horticulturists within the fields of landscape and amenity design.

The exhibit also looked at the year-round hydroponic production of edibles, including climate monitoring and integrated pest management; whilst the orchard section showcased the ‘fruit wall’ production method, demonstrating cutting-edge techniques in irrigation, frost protection and autonomous monitoring and management.

Alan Harvey, Head of Curriculum for Horticulture & Floristry at Hadlow College, said: “We were delighted to exhibit at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show this year and absolutely thrilled to win Bronze for our display.
Our students were involved in the build of the garden and growing the plants which were included in the design. As Kent’s only rural and land-based college we are passionate about supporting the industry and enabling as many students as possible to gain fulfilling careers in the horticulture sector. It was a pleasure to take so many people around our show garden and help them understand what we offer as a college.”

Dr Ros Fisher went on to say “Being at Chelsea Flower show has been such a fantastic experience and opportunity for our students and raises the profile and recognition of our efforts at Hadlow college. We’ve thoroughly enjoyed talking to 1000s of visitors about careers in Horticulture. This event has given us the platform to showcase our sustainability credentials and raised that awareness. Our students are an absolute credit to us!”

The exhibit was influenced by some of the high-tech facilities that play an integral part in horticulture courses at the College.

Chelsea Flower Show Ros and students

In 2022, Hadlow opened its state-of-the-art glasshouse, which features cutting edge technology such as suspended gutters running hydroponics for tomatoes and peppers in separate houses, LED and high-pressure sodium lighting and misting systems for plant propagation.

Students work alongside practitioners from leading industry grower Thanet Earth to develop their skills and produce hydroponic tomatoes in the Venlo glasshouse.

The following year an innovative orchard and vineyard using robotics was unveiled.

This two-hectare area showcases next generation innovations including automated AI management systems, a state-of-the-art irrigation, fertigation and frost protection system and automated fruit picking.

The College has a rich history at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Members of its alumni have won gold, silver gilt and Best Show Garden awards, whilst the College itself was named the Floristry College of the Year in 2015.

To find out more about studying the subject at Hadlow College, visit the Horticulture subject page of the College website.

Alternatively come to the Hadlow College Open Evening, which runs from 3pm to 7pm on 5 June, or the Higher Education Open Morning, for entry in September 2025, which runs from 10am to 12noon on 4 July. Visit the Events page of the College website to register