TV preview: RHS Chelsea Flower Show

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In the last couple of years, the younger generation have grown to love Chelsea as the high-powered, beautiful-looking hotbed of arguments that famous reality programme shows it to be.

However, for many, it’s still the colourful sprawling garden designs of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show that the area will always really be famous for.

As usual, the BBC is doing everything it can to ensure those not fortunate enough to attend the event can get the full experience from the comfort of their own homes.

Monty Don and Joe Swift launch the week of programmes from the horticultural event held in the ground of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, in London. The boys also look forward to tomorrow, as they let us in on the designers who they think will scoop the top prizes.

Plus, Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch and his actress mother Wanda Ventham share their favourite Chelsea moments.

There’s one person notably missing from the team this year – yes, Alan Titchmarsh has stepped away from presenting duties after covering the event for the Beeb since 1983. He comments: “I really enjoyed my 30 years of presenting Chelsea Flower Show coverage for the BBC and wish the new team every success.”

Alan will of course be showing his face at the event - with an entry of his very own. His Chelsea garden, entitled From the Moors to the Sea, for which he’s teamed up with Kate Gould, is his first since winning a gold medal way back in 1985 for his Country Kitchen garden.

But just because Alan’s not about doesn’t mean we’re not in capable hands.

Monty and Joe will be joined by journalist Sophie Raworth in bringing live coverage from the show ground, while much-loved Gardeners’ World presenters Carol Klein and Rachel de Thame will be joined by familiar faces Andy Sturgeon, Chris Beardshaw, Nicki Chapman, Christine Walkden, James Wong and Toby Buckland, who all return for the 101st show.

Monty says: “It is great to be back at Chelsea and I am looking forward to celebrating all the best of British horticulture with the nation’s gardeners.”

And Sophie adds: “I am delighted and honoured to be a part of the Chelsea 2014 team. I grew up in a family of very keen gardeners so know something about the joys and sheer hard work that go in to creating such beautiful places.”

The Show is attended by some 157,000 visitors – with plenty celebrities dotted among them – each year (limited because of space), and it’s a reminder if ever one was needed just how prominent this show is – and will remain – in any summer social season.

Today’s programme is just a snapshot of a riot of colour and ingenuity, so don’t miss the feast of flora and fauna served up by the Beeb throughout the event – and with the Queen expected to make her 50th appearance at the event, it’s worthwhile tuning in for a bit of celebrity spotting alone.


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