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It is now clear that the British people have made the choice to leave the European Union. The countr...


Chelsea Memories - Nursery Exhibitors at the Centenary Flower Show

David Austin Roses (exhibiting for 31 years) (image above)
"The introduction of ‘Graham Thomas’ in 1983 created the greatest impact of any rose we ever exhibited. It received massive pre-show publicity from the press," says Michael Marriott, Technical Manager. "At the time traditional Hybrid Tea roses were still very popular and our stand was very small – few people had heard of English roses or David Austin; now they flock to the stand."

Hampshire Carnivorous Plants (exhibiting for 15 years)
"There have been many memorable moments; George Harrison and Ringo Starr were fascinated by the plants, as was Johnny Marr from Indie band The Smiths, who now has a Sarracenia named after him," says Matthew Soper, owner. "But nothing beats the thrill of being awarded our first Gold at our first Chelsea in 1999!"

Eagle Sweet Peas (exhibiting for 10 years)
"The way we exhibit sweet peas has not changed much over the years. Historically, sweet peas have always been shown in baskets, as we do today," says Derek Heathcote, founder of Eagle Sweet Peas. "But I believe growers in the past did use part-cooked or very ripe apples and potatoes to support individual blooms instead of Oasis as we do today."

W & S Lockyer (exhibiting for 18 years)
"In 2012 we finally won our first Gold. We were ecstatic and burst into tears; after almost 20 years of trying and many Silver medals, we finally won Gold," says Joan Lockyer. "We exhibit plants in an Auricula theatre, with William and Simon resplendent in dark suits and bowler hats, intent on maintaining the traditions of Victorian gardeners and earlier Chelsea shows."

Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants (exhibiting for 21 years)
"Our first display in 1992, covered 15 square metres; it featured a picket fence and was quite naive. We have learned a lot since then," says owner, Rosie Hardy. "This year our Centenary display is much more ambitious, covering 108 square metres!"

Walkers Bulbs @ Taylors (exhibited at 27 shows)
"In 1993, the cold store broke down; we lost 80% of our flowers, seven days before the show, with no hope of getting more, but we managed a display and still got Bronze," says owner, Johnny Walkers. "Another time the refrigerated lorry arrived at the showground and a shelf had collapsed crushing a lot of flowers, yet we achieved Gold – one of the greatest triumphs of all!"

Raymond Evison Clematis (exhibiting for over 24 years)
"One year we created a clematis arch. Some people just kept on walking through it; one lady said she wanted to bring her bed and sleep there overnight," says owner, Raymond Evison. "We are creating an archway this year; people just love the experience of being surrounded by flowering clematis."

Hillier Nurseries (exhibited at most shows since 1914)
"There is a massive pressure to uphold our record of 67 consecutive Golds – I would not want to be the one who got Silver," says Andrew McIndoe, Managing Director. "In the early days we used a huge range of plants - one of each; all individually labelled. Over the years our exhibit has changed, dividing up the plot and focusing on ideas for small gardens, aiming to give visitors an idea of what they could do at home."

Source: RHS Chelsea Flower Show - Chelsea Memories - Nursery Exhibitors at the Centenary Flower Show