Frequently Asked Questions

Project Giving Back grants will enable a successful applicant to apply for a RHS Chelsea Flower Show garden, in partnership with a UK charity. We would expect the chosen charities to use the media coverage the show attracts to promote their need for support or to bring their work to the attention of a wider audience via traditional and social media exposure.

The Advisory Panel will want to see creative and interesting ways that charities make the most of this opportunity. Successful garden teams will be required to work closely with the RHS press office and shows department to maximise their involvement in the show.

Application Process

Can I apply if I have no prior experience of designing a garden at Chelsea?

Yes. While experience of designing and / or building a show garden is beneficial, we are keen to encourage new talent and do not require Chelsea experience in some garden categories. Every design goes before the RHS selection panel who are likely to favour those who have exhibited at one of the other RHS shows like RHS Flower Show Tatton Park or RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival. So, you have more chance of being accepted if you have designed a garden at one of the other RHS shows. However, please do not let this prevent you from applying - the category 'All About Plants' is designed to encourage interesting and creative talent and we are keen to hear from all interested designers.

The first step is to register your interest with Project Giving Back via our online form. We prefer designers and good causes to apply together, but will accept applications from either individually. If you are successfully selected at the first stage, we will invite you to submit a fully costed design plan and invite you to present your ideas via video call. The Project Giving Back Advisory Panel will make a final selection who will be invited to submit the design to the RHS selection panel.

How does the Project Giving Back selection process relate to the RHS Selection Process?

Project Giving Back is not an alternative to the RHS selection process. Our aim is to identify interesting designers, nurseries and horticultural groups and encourage them to apply for PGB funding in partnership with a good cause. However, if you are successful in being selected by Project Giving Back, you will still need to apply to the RHS in the usual way and PGB funding is not a guarantee of space allocation at the show.


If I am turned down for PGB funding can I reapply?

Yes. If you meet all the criteria you can request that your design be reconsidered for a future RHS Chelsea Flower Show and/or you can still apply directly to the RHS without PGB funding.

Can horticultural charities participate? 

Yes. All UK charities (registered and working in the UK) are welcome to apply for a Project Giving Back grant. Ideally you should apply with a designer in mind, but it is possible to apply individually and we can help pair you with a suitable designer. We do accept expressions of interest from other types of charitable organisation and all applications will be considered by the PGB Advisory Panel, however, larger garden places will be reserved for organisations with UK-wide reach. 


Can botanic gardens, horticultural societies, specialist nurseries and other horticultural institutions apply?

Yes.  We are keen to cast our net as wide as possible and welcome applications from botanic gardens, horticultural societies or any charitable horticultural institution, teamed up with a garden designer and specialist nurseries. Please express your interest and we can tell you more. 


What happens if my design is accepted but I fail to deliver?

All designers whose plans are accepted by the RHS selection panel are required to pay a non-returnable deposit should any garden fail to materialise. This rule would apply to those benefiting from a Project Giving Back grant but our mentors and advisory team are there to help ensure this does not happen.

Can designers, working in a different field, get involved with this project? 

Yes.  Please get in touch.  We are excited about bringing together designers from other disciplines to either curate or collaborate with exhibits or become one of our mentoring team.

Communication

How do exhibitors attract press coverage? 

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show attracts a huge amount of media interest. If your garden is selected by the RHS for the show, the good cause and designer will have the chance to promote their story to the media and work with the RHS press office to maximise media opportunities. They will be invited to organise a photo call on the garden on press day and take advantage of the many other media opportunities available at the show. Any press activity should be coordinated in conversation with the RHS press office. Charities are encouraged to find interesting and creative ways to get their message across and the story behind the garden is often of interest to a wide variety of media.

Who will manage the PR & marketing for the garden if we are awarded PGB funding?

The charitable organisation benefitting from the garden funded by PGB will be responsible for all PR and marketing in the lead up to and during the show. The RHS Press Office team will provide support throughout the process, with additional guidance from the PGB team. However, the PGB funding will not cover PR & marketing costs and so this should be considered when applying for funding. 

We have never exhibited at Chelsea before - how will we manage our comms plan?

The RHS Press Office will be your main point of contact and you will receive lots of help and advice from them about planning and managing your communications. The PGB team also has a wealth of experience of exhibiting at Chelsea and managing communications for gardens there. We are here to make your experience a successful one. 

Financials

What does a Project Giving Back grant cover? 

Successful applicants are expected to work with a UK-based good cause to create a really exciting exhibit. The application will require costings for your exhibit, transport and accommodation for essential staff.  You will be required to keep within the approved budget, which does not include entertainment costs or show tickets. All other costs will need to be budgeted for by the charity partner. PGB will provide more detailed guidance for charities at the application stage. 

Are charities/garden designers given free show tickets?  

Show exhibitors are allocated a certain number of badges to allow contractors and staff to build and maintain the garden throughout the build up and show week. This allows designers and charities to engage with show visitors. Should an exhibitor wish to entertain guests or host events at the show, they will need to purchase RHS hospitality or show tickets outside of the Project Giving Back budget and make arrangements directly with the RHS.

Garden build & Logistics

What happens to the garden after the show?

Sustainability is extremely important to Project Giving Back and we would strongly encourage the charities we involve to make good use of their gardens. We have allocated funds for the relocation of the gardens but they must prove to us that they will be publicly accessible and provide a public benefit. 

What happens to furniture, artwork or crafts pieces displayed after the show?  

Any money from the sale of components from your garden, not on loan, should be for the sole benefit of the charity involved.

Will Project Giving Back supported gardens be judged?

Yes. All Project Giving Back supported gardens accepted by the RHS for exhibit at the show will be judged. 

Who is eligible for a PGB mentor and how does the scheme work?

We are still working on building and creating a PGB mentor programme for exhibitors new to the show and in need of additional support. In the meantime, we are creating a series of short ‘insider knowledge’ films that will give everyone some top tips and guidance from people who are very familiar with designing, creating and building gardens at the show. 


Are Project Giving Back supported gardens walk-through exhibits?

No. All PGB funded gardens will be judged as show gardens, not floral exhibits. In 2022, the All About Plants gardens will be positioned within the Great Pavilion but will not be accessible by visitors.

Does my contractor have to have show experience?

You may prefer to choose a contractor with show experience, as building a garden at Chelsea with tight deadlines and build constraints requires excellent planning and project management. However, this is not a PGB requirement and you are free to select a contractor of your choice. We recommend that you are very confident in your project management skills and working relationship.