The love of gardening is a seed once sown that never dies. Gertrude Jekyll

Annie's Little Plot

Annie's Little Plot

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Chelsea Flower Show dream come true

Well one of my all time dreams has been realised this week, I've been going to the Chelsea Flower Show most years since 2004 but this year I'm getting a very special opportunity. As I've mentioned in previous posts, Perennial, the horticultural charity who own York Gate, the garden that I'm doing a years training at, are celebrating their 175th anniversary. To promote this there has been a garden at the Harrogate Spring Flower Show and now they are creating a walkthrough exhibit in the Great Pavilion at Chelsea, designed by Jo Thompson. The exhibit measure 10m by 12m and it has been supported by many horticultural bodies with most of the plants donated or on loan from Hardys Cottage Plants, Coblands nurseries and Majestic trees. Streetscape have been doing the hard landscaping. See their website to find out more about this amazing social enterprise. I spent Friday on the build of the exhibit helping "plant". Look how dirty my knees are to show how hard we worked!
It was so exciting to be behind the scenes of the greatest flower show and be part of that hussle and bussle for a day. It was a busy day, I was exhausted by the end of it, forty winks on the train home was inevitable.
The design is inspired by Perennial's two gardens, York Gate and Fullers Mill and is shaped like Perennial's logo which is a Arum lily. This is definitely inspired by York Gate.
And the box spirals from the Herb garden at York Gate.
The underplanting the tall silver birches is spectacular.

The key plants are Allium hollandicum, Anthriscus sylvestris 'Ravenswing', Digitalis purpurea 'Sutton's apricot', Geum 'Totally Tangerine', Verbascum 'Cotswold Beauty', Salvia nemorosa 'Caradonna'  and Silene fibriata.
I'll try and get better pictures next week.
We had some time to look round the Great Pavilion, which when inside all day is a heady mix of scents, we were next to Hart's nursery and all their lilies and we also kept getting wafts of roses. Heaven. Right next to us were Clematis.
 Each container took hours to assemble, painstakingly tying in the plants.
We were awe-inspired by the Thai stand.
I hate to think how many orchids, but each one placed by hand into the soaked oasis.
We also had a sneaky peak at all the main avenue show gardens under preparation but all you see are masses of builders bums and hi-vis jackets galore. I'll save my pictures of the gardens for when I go down on Tuesday and Wednesday. I'll be on the garden telling people about Perennial, their work and their two fabulous gardens. Keeping fingers crossed for the judging.
There are pictures of the finished garden on Twitter (follow @PerennialGRBS) or Jo Thompson's Facebook page and more information here. I'll have more posts about Chelsea next week.


  1. A wonderful opportunity and a great addition to your CV

  2. A most enjoyable post, and wonderful photos. That is certainly a different way of seeing the show, and one that I'd guess is in some ways much more satisfying.
    Have a good week. Flighty xx

  3. Oh golly, how THRILLING! I love what you have done, and can just imagine all the scents wafting by. I'm a little jealous!!! The Thai stand left me speechless. You enjoy!xxx

  4. Oh what a brilliant experience Annie. You must have worked hard but I'm sure that you will have enjoyed it immensely.

  5. Wow! What a fantastic opportunity. It's so amazing to get to see behind the scenes. Although perhaps not all those builders' bums. *shudders* The Thai stand was incredible wasn't it? The only real problem with Chelsea is that there's so much to take in I want to go back for more. ;)