Chelsea Flower Show - Your Opinion?

The SA sponsored a garden designer to build a main feature garden at Chelsea.

Value for money?

The designer and Monty Don interviewing her both said they had had strokes.

To use a somewhat cliched phrase they didn’t look or sound or act or give any other detectable signs of being other than entirely back to normal. No #StrokeThrivers were in evidence.

This could clearly create a conception that stroke is completely recoverable from? It could give many hope? There are of course other “it could…”

The garden was sponsored by ProjectGivingBack & may have cost 200k? for unpurchasable PR?
What the SA costs were won’t be clear till the report and accounts & maybe not then (However I’ve been told the forum development is constrained because “Not enough staff” and I’ll bet this took quite a few staff hours!

AND as was said in another thread “to plant garden is to believe in the future”

What are your opinions? Select several and or comment below :slight_smile:

  • Great initiative
  • Waste of money
  • Created the wrong impressions
  • ‘Buys’ useful PR
  • Other
0 voters



Thanks for raising this @SimonInEdinburgh. I think I commented previously about the Stroke Association garden, I feel strongly that it isn’t good use of money. Having said that, I don’t know whether it’s been paid for entirely from other sources and I will be interested to see any explanation. If the funding did come from elsewhere, maybe the staff time used is justifiable.

I feel so strongly about this as I’ve encountered a similar situation in the past. When Give As You Earn came in many years ago, I initiated a modest monthly donation to Arthritis Research (my mother was afflicted by rheumatoid arthritis). After being a regular donor for some years, I discovered that the charity had paid for a garden at Chelsea. My partner had worked at the show and I knew how costly the gardens were. When I asked Arthritis Research to explain why they thought using money this way was a good idea, they said it was to raise awareness. My view was that I wanted my donation to be used on research, not on publicity, and I stopped donating to them.

I accept that charities need to advertise but I think Chelsea is so elitist that there are other, more effective ways of raising awareness. It would be interesting to see how many of the charity’s ‘bigwigs’ have visited the garden, I suspect not many of the ‘rank and file’ have.


No idea, as I have no idea what the Chelsea Flower Show is, but it sure sounds fancy. Fancy events draw fancy money, but I am uncertain that they take in more than they pay out, or if it just looks that way on paper. Are proceeds used for research? I thought the proceeds were for research and education. The PR is in the education to PREVENT stroke, and the research of how to stop/or treat stroke. I was hoping for more of how to deal with stroke once you have experienced it, which is what I get from the forum…so I would certainly like to see more attention spent on it as well. I think it is great PR, as well.


It is fancy, attracts all sorts, not sure the bees are allowed in though. :upside_down_face:


£120 pp to get in for the day!
Got maybe 5minns TV time over 3 days.


I know it can be good PR and I know they say you have ‘speculate to accumulate’ but how much is going into the cause and how much more into pockets.


I am sceptical about the whole business of charities and PR etc. and think that the Big Society was a Big Con, but this garden did at least get my mother (who hasn’t a clue about strokes but is very keen gardener still at 93) and I talking about it. She read an article in a gardening magazine which was considerably better than the 3 minutes on TV.


@FionaB1 Nick Clark set up stroke information because he saw how the money he raised which was substantial was being spent

There are some opaque statistics in the
report and accounts

Good that the flower show garden got you talking. I wonder how many times that was repeated across the country? Does That suggest it was staff time (money) well spent?

@EmeraldEyes it all goes into somebody’s pocket and out again to go into something else’s pocket and out again :slight_smile:
The question is does it go into the pocket of the person who gives the best value in return?

For example 2 million in the figure above on a research and 8m in figures above spent on fundraising. Also support services must include the (hundred+?) staff that were put up in Sheffield (?) for an internal event earlier in the year and I guess every year and maybe fantastic VFM or just a jolly? Probably somewhere in between and that could well be justified on the morale arguement?


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This gives some indication…
Everyone in this table is making more than a thousand a week.
Maybe reasonable for the calibre of staff required to run a 30~40 million pound a year organisation?

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The question is will donations from it exceed the expenditure and by how much. But we don’t even know how the SA put into it.
They are not the only charity there and appealing to a niche audience.
Will it be enough publicity to exceed the money they put into it remains to seen.

We are a country of keen gardeners and the Chelsea Flower Show is world renowned. And Miria Harris did win a bronze medal for The Stroke Association’s Garden for Recovery so who knows :face_with_diagonal_mouth:

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Having watched the Stroke Garden on the TV my immediate thought is how would anyone who’s recovering from a stroke supposed to get out of those chairs!
As for giving wrong impression, I’d have thought on this group this wouldn’t have been a thought. To the average person I look normal, although with a slight limp. Inside I feel totally different. Does this make my stroke story any less valuable to that of somebody who ‘looks’ like they have had a stroke. I know I’m lucky every day.
Should they have employed a garden designer solely based upon the way they look after stroke?
As everyone here knows, I’m sure, strokes recovery comes in all shapes and sizes just because someone looks like they are well doesn’t mean they have not had internal struggles.
I wish the public who watched the program would understand that but, sadly they probably won’t so who knows!

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As someone who worked (works!) in a marketing role, I think it is very difficult to assess whether it was a waste of a money - as there are very few ROI’s that truly mean anything for this type of thing in my opinion, but my professional observation is that the wider PR was huge, whether that PR was good / directed at the right message, that is perhaps for others to decide. But by exhibiting at Chelsea, this story got coverage on TV, in most major broadsheet newspapers, it would have got radio interviews, it got social media coverage (much of which will be long-form content that lasts) and it would have allowed others to develop stories around the issue of stroke (just like we’re now talking about it on this forum).

From a very personal perspective if it shows me there is one more person out there who, like me suffered a stroke in their 40’s (My understanding was that the designer, like me suffered a stroke in their 40’s), it gives me a small amount of hope and helps me to process the events I have gone through in the last 7 months.

But I am biased, I love gardening and for the last few months it’s been one of the things that has kept me afloat, taken my mind to a happier place.