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Award-winning stand at the Chelsea Flower Show

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show is an annual show to see cutting-edge garden design, new plants, and garden ideas, drawing a global crowd year on year. This year it took place from 21st-25th May 2024.

Ian Gill Sculpture, an award-winning metal sculptor based in Lincolnshire, is a regular attendee at these shows, crafting beautiful horticultural stands to be featured and displayed. Premier Galvanizing Hull has been proudly galvanizing Ian’s sculptures for 3 years, and were delighted to assist with Ian’s display at this year’s show.

We had the opportunity to speak to Ian about this year’s show, his inspiration for the stand, and why he can rely on Premier Galvanizing to hot dip galvanize his work.

About the project

Ian has been sculpting for over 25 years, and has been fabricating for the Chelsea Flower Show since 2008, attending every show since.

Ian’s stand featured multiple sculptures of different plants and shrubbery, including gunnera (giant rhubard), giant corten fern, and pond reeds. The stand incorporated a mixture of real and steel foliage, and included some stunning water displays. The real greenery was grown by Ian’s partner.

When asked about his inspiration for the project this year, Ian said:

“I got my inspiration for this year’s display from studying organic plant matter and nature. I had a lot of fun manipulating the steel to make it look soft and more like a real plant.

“Gunneras were going to be banned from the show because they were recently classified as an invasive species. But they didn’t know I was going to be bringing one – just one made out of steel instead.

“It took about 6 months total, working 10-12 hours on the project every day. All of my effort went into the display during those 6 months.

Gunnera plant sculpture

“There was about 25 tonnes of materials in total required to build the stand, including the flooring and surrounding materials.”

About this year’s show

2024 marks the 17th Annual Chelsea Flower Show that Ian has featured at.

There were about 250 stands at the show this year, and only around 40 got a 5 Star Tradestand Award by the Royal Horticultural Society.

Ian earned one of these 5 Star ratings during the show this year – an incredible (and well-deserved) achievement.

Some of Ian’s water features were displayed outside of his stand and were featured around the wider show, including a giant cascading waterfall which was displayed on the Malvern Garden Buildings stand.

Premier Galvanizing delivers a high quality finish

Ian started using Premier Galvanizing Hull 3 years ago, when he moved from the south up to Lincolnshire.

Ian recalls having poor experiences with another galvanizing company in the past. Moving up north provided him with an opportunity to find a new galvanizing company who understood the delicate nature of his sculptures, and could reliably galvanize them to a high quality without damaging his craftmanship.

“It’s devastating when you spend 3 months full-time producing a sculpture, just for a galvanizer to mess it up in 30 minutes. But since switching to Premier Galvanizing, I’ve been very happy. The team there are easy to reach out to and I can rely on them to look after my work.

“Talking to other metal artists at these kinds of shows, one of the first things that gets asked is, “Who does your galvanizing?”. Other metal artists often complain about how much of a nightmare it is to find a good galvanizer, and I used to join in with the complaining in those conversations, too. But I can’t anymore, because the quality I get with Premier Galvanizing is brilliant.”

Corten fern water feature


Sustainability is at the forefront of many people’s priorities in recent years. Ian ensures the elements of his stand don’t go to waste.

“I’ll reuse the flooring on the stand as the slabs can be lifted up. I’ll also go on to sell the sculptures to the public after the show as ex-display. My partner will also take the real plants back and replant them to be used in other projects.”

Hot dip galvanizing is a sustainable practice, fitting into a circular economy. The high-quality galvanized finish provided for Ian’s sculptures means that they are protected from corrosion caused by atmospheric attack. The customers who will go on to buy these sculptures can be sure they will last for many years to come; and, should the sculptures need to be recycled, this can be done without loss of properties.

Another good year at the Chelsea Flower Show

Overall, this year’s show was another success, both for Ian and for the Royal Horticultural Society.

When asked about future projects, Ian concluded:

“I’m going to continue to make bigger, better, and crazier projects in the future.” We can’t wait to see them!

Ian Gill is the founder of Ian Gill Sculpture. More photos from this years show, as well as his stands from previous shows, can be found on his website Pictures supplied by Ian Gill.

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