RHS Chelsea show plants on track | Love The Garden

RHS Chelsea show plants on track

John Clowes's picture
By John Clowes, Gardening Guru

To keep you up to date on developments towards this year’s Chelsea Flower Show we sent a team from LoveTheGarden to sunny Hampshire to see how the plant experts and plant growth is progressing.

We were welcomed by our show partners, Hillier Nurseries to a secret location where MD, Andrew McIndoe, explained the concept behind this year’s display on the famous Monument site of the Great Pavilion. “I plan to create a feel-good garden that shows many of the aspects that make everyone feel good about gardening. Whether it is a place to escape in the Garden of Contemplation or somewhere to exercise on the Tone Up Trail or to relax in the Indulgence Garden visitors should be able to find there own piece of wonderment.”

Andrew showed us some of the plants that he is planning to incorporate in the Hillier show garden including a new Photinia ‘Pink Marbles’ that carries variegated pink and white markings to both new red and mature green foliage.

Plant Expert and veteran Chelsea plant man Ricky Dorlay talked about his favourite spring shrub that he is nurturing into flower thanks to warm conditions and plenty of sunshine. Called Sinocalycalycanthus ‘Hartlage Wine’ it carries burgundy red blooms with clusters of cream coloured petals.

But some shrubs need to be held back so they don’t bloom too early. Ricky showed us some of these examples in his garage-sized cool room where temperatures are kept just a little above freezing until the day before the show. Plants in bud there include rhododendrons, azaleas, ceanothus and several hardy perennials.

Later in the day the team visited the staff and customers at Hilliers Garden Centre, Romsey where we asked them to record what makes them feel good about gardening. We have edited some of these video clips to show here and many more will be added when we talk to the visitors to Hillier Nurseries stand at Chelsea this year.

In the meantime you can see how your feel-good factors match up. We recorded many satisfying events or pleasures in gardening that give ordinary people a lift of spirit or provide a personal feel-good factor. Some told of the satisfaction when a plant was nurtured into bloom or of a flower perfume that provided a reminder of times gone past. But many simply recalled those precious five minutes in the garden sanctuary enjoyed at peace with mind, body and soul.

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