Opening day at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2013: Famous faces & 10 top facts about the show

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show is celebrating its centenary year this week and is once again making headlines for its beautiful show gardens, nurseries, fabulous floral displays and, for the first time, gnomes. ACHICA Living went along to the show to view the stunning gardens, which you can view here, and we met a few famous faces along the way. They're all garden enthusiasts we might add - including supermodel David Gandy, pictured above and below. Here are a few snaps from opening day and our round up of 10 top facts about the prestigious Chelsea Flower Show...

Did you know? The Chelsea Flower Show was founded in 1804 and its first 'celebrity garden designer' was David Stevens in 1970.

Below: Chelsea local and English adventurer Ben Fogle and wife Marina Hunt at Chelsea Flower Show 2013.

Guess what! This year, celebrities were asked to paint and decorate gnomes, which are to be auctioned off to help the RHS charity engage young people in horticulture.

Below: Gnomes designed by Elton John, Joanna Lumley and Dame Helen Mirren are just some that are being auctioned off for charity by the RHS.

Yes, it's true! Gnomes and other brightly coloured mythical creates were banned from the Show. Until this centenary year that is.

Wow! It takes 800 people 33 days to build the show from bare grass to the finished article.

Who would have thought? In 2012 visitors to the show drank 1,068 bottles of champagne and 15,887 cups of tea, and ate 8,734 sandwiches. That must've been a hard stat to track!

Above: Helen Mirren came to support the Burncoose stand - designed to illustrate how a garden exhibit would have been seen in the early days of the RHS.

Below: The Chelsea Flower Show 2013 wouldn't be complete without Alan Titchmarsh, pictured above chatting to ACHICA Living.

Did you know? Chelsea is the flower show most associated with the Royal family, who attend the opening day every year. And the Queen attends the show on Press Day - the day before the show officially opens to the public.

Top fact. In 2002, Prince Charles designed a garden at the Show with garden designer Jinny Blom. This year, Jinny has designed a garden for Prince Harry's charity, Sentebale, pictured below.

It's a fact. In 1932 the rain at the Chelsea Flower Show was so severe that a summer houses display fell to pieces. One very wet year an exhibitor named it 'The Chelsea Show Flow'.

Below: BBC weather presenter Carol Kirkwood kept the rain at bay at Chelsea Flower Show 2013.

Below: Rob Brydon chats to ACHICA Living about his favourite flowers and we ask him to do his 'gnome trapped in a box voice'

Below: Mary Berry tells ACHICA Living that the rose has got to be her favourite flower. We agree.

Below: Garden designer Diarmuid Gavin sports his 100 Years Centenary Chelsea Flower Show pin.

Who knew? Japanese dwarf trees, known as bonsai, were first seen at the first show in 1913.

Below: Christopher Biggins is a big fan of the Chelsea Flower Show.

Below: Michael Vaughn told ACHICA Living that he was a fan of the willow used in garden designer Jamie Dunstan's show garden.

Below: The lovely Joanna Lumley enchants ACHICA Living with her fabulousness and shows us her favourite roses.

Final fact! The Great Pavilion at RHS Chelsea Flower Show, which in 1951 replaced a number of smaller tents, is roughly 11,775 square meters / 2.90 acres, enough room to park 500 London buses.

Thanks to RHS for the Show facts.

Don't forget to look out for our opening day videos from Chelsea Flower Show 2013, which will be online here at ACHICA Living later on this week

[All picture credits: Brian North and Emily Peck]

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Emily Peck, Editor

View all posts by Emily Peck, Editor