Sparsholt College is delighted to launch this year’s RHS Chelsea Garden entry ‘Plants, Routes and Branches for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2024 to be held at The Royal Hospital, Chelsea from 21-25 May. 

The 2024 garden has been designed by Sparsholt’s multiple-medal-winning-team including Chris Bird who is celebrating his 26th RHS Chelsea Flower Show Garden design this year. The exhibit takes inspiration from the routes in which studying Horticulture can take you beyond studying.

Discover the Horticulture courses with a national reputation for excellence and the incredible industry links that make opportunities like this one possible.



Garden Features


  • Laboratory featuring a Choisya breeding timeline and propagation equipment. Micropropagation is a laboratory-based system, using extremely small pieces of a mother plant to produce high numbers of new plants quickly.

    A Laminar Flow Cabinet is featured for undertaking micropropagation. It provides a flow of clean air blown from the back across the work space to prevent airborne contamination as you work. One of the skill areas that is found across the whole 125-year teaching period is soil analysis.

    This includes determining pH, structure  and texture, as well as microscope work to view and understand nature’s complex structures. .

  • Nursery area featuring many Hampshire plant introductions, denoted by the above Hampshire Rose symbol on the plant label.

    A wide range of propagational techniques are also featured including:
    • Grafting on apple, Malus domestica
    • Seed treatments to aid germination, such as scarification, where the hard seed coat (testa) is weakened to allow the uptake of water and stratification, where the seed is given the required temperature and moisture level
    • A range of cutting methods depending on the age and woodiness of the materials, soft to hard

  • Workshop with examples of tools throughout our history, from a rotary cultivator through to a 21st century robotic mower.

  • Traditional classroom and an interactive plant identification test, a constant and vital learning method.

    You can test your plant knowledge by finding the ten numbered black plant labels and recording your suggestions on your leaflet. To check the answers, please click here or lift the numbered flap in the garden to see the botanical name.

  • Facilitating, through former students and active community support, significant plant breeding and introductions, particularly in Hampshire but also globally.

  • A strong network actively working with and supporting leading horticultural organisations and the community.

    To seek out your own local workshop or national opportunities to learn, is an excellent starting point.
    We are very proud of our achievements and contribution to horticultural education and the industry over the past 125 years – we look forward to the next 125 years!

  • Over the past 125 years, Sparsholt College Group is proud to have grown strong local and national community links to develop our students learning, creating stimulating work experience placements, and potential career opportunities:

    Plant Herritage: We are the holder of the National Plant Collection R of Malus domestica cultivars bred & grown in Hampshire & the Isle of Wight pre-1960 with an orchard of over 70 trees maintained by students

    The RHS: Exhibiting at every RHS Chelsea Flower Show since 1990

    British Association Landscape Industries: Student work experience for charitable projects including the National Trust, Help for Heroes, Maggie’s, MIND, local heritage sites, schools and hospitals.

    The Hampshire Federation of Horticultural Societies: Charitable foundations providing student scholarships and support e.g. The Colegrave Seabrook Foundation.

    And many more!

    Our rich heritage and deep industry engagement creates opportunity for our students to grow and thrive as they branch out into their chosen careers whilst also supporting wonderful organisations and our industry.

  • In 2024 CSF celebrates 30 years of supporting students studying horticulture.

    Through the generosity of individuals and businesses, CSF raises funds to provide scholarships to students studying horticulture at colleges or universities in the UK, including Sparsholt College Group. Without this support CSF could not achieve what they do.

    Professional horticulture is a fantastic career opening up many opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds. Plants are an integral part of our lives and without them how would we breathe or eat, and what would we wear? Let alone where would we live or what would we have to look at!

    Find out more about the Foundation, or see how you can support their work by making a donation here.

Plants for the Future –
RHS Plant of the Year 2024 Entries

Innovative, varied and low-input 2024 plant introductions, including three offerings from Hillier Nurseries, Hampshire:

Philadelphus PETITE PERFUME WHITE (‘W1’)

Suited to a modern garden, this compact, naturally branching, free flowering plant has an intense fragrance and a flower which has an almost cruciform look, with recurved petals  that is quite unique for this genus. Bred by Hillier. Propagator Alan Postill.

Mahonia eurybracteata subsp. ganpinensis METEOR (‘HILLMAH’)

Deep green leaves, dense globose habit, deep red foliage in spring and a flush of yellow flowers from August to November give this outstanding garden plant year-round interest, while the compact habit makes it suitable for a variety of spaces. Bred over a 12-year period by Hillier Propagator Alan Postill.

Sempervivum x Chick Charms Giants GOLD MINE (‘GGM2022’)

A breeding breakthrough quadrupling the size of this genus, by Chris Hausen in the USA, this development is hardy, drought tolerant and easy to grow, with dramatic colouration and huge rosettes to 30cm across. Introduced in the UK in 2024 by Hillier Nurseries.

Petunia x atkinsiana NICOLA (‘Kernicola’) (Tumbelina Series)

Bred in the UK by Tim Kerley of family firm Kerley & Co. it has sturdy performance credentials. The colour and flower shape is new, featuring a central flourish of petals with contrasting frame – a modern twist on a traditional summer favourite, great for baskets, tubs and borders.


This dynamic series offering two cultivars with vibrant purple and red foliage during winter and spring and intense eye-popping purple and red flowers in summer is a year-round visual feast.

Click below to see more