Firstly, huge congratulations to Rosy Hardy and Hardy’s Plants for winning their 24th RHS Gold Award this morning at The RHS Chelsea Flower Show … it was an absolute pleasure to help put the display together and as always it looks amazing!
BEHIND THE SCENES @ RHS CHELSEA …
There’s plenty of primping and preening when it comes to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. I couldn’t wait to join the other gardeners and volunteers last Thursday in the build of Hardy’s beautiful display in the floral marquee.
With thousands of plants delivered to the stand, there’s no end of cutting, building, laying, snipping and buffing to do before a single plant can be placed. Once the plot’s been allocated, Rob Hardy takes charge, marking out the perimeter and pathway with recycled wooden edging before the staging for the plants can begin.
“Plant Beautician” for the day, my first task is to grab a paintbrush and snips, clean off the grasses, remove any dead, brown or unsightly bits so they look their absolute best. Rubbing down the flat green leaves of the Hostas and Polemonium (Jacob’s Ladder) which attract the building debris and sawdust like magnets, marked with water stains, but polished to a glossy shine.
During the build, the glamour and beauty of Chelsea takes a back seat to the noise and clamour of diggers, HGVs, lorries and fork lifts moving mountains of materials, stoneware, plants, flowers, furniture and sculptures.
Rosy Hardy directs the build, asking volunteers to bring plants and lay them out, perfecting her mental plan as she goes and giving us a little insight into her creativity, extensive experience and plant knowledge. Building the bed, sending volunteers to search through skips for offcuts of wood to build a platform under the plant pots to create a tiered effect.
All materials are recycled; wooden edging, plant pots from last year, nothing is wasted, nothing thrown. Once the plants are placed and Rosy is happy with the display, we then top dress with soil or moss around the pots to create the illusion of a permanent looking bed with the odd area raised into a bank. That way we make sure every single plant can be sold on or returned to Hardy’s nursery unharmed.
A delightful assault of the senses, The RHS Chelsea Flower Show is a cornucopia of colour and texture, merged with the heady scent of plants and flowers and the unexpected squawk of Chelsea’s parroquets, all to the distant hum of brick saws and angle grinders! But the overall atmosphere is calm and industrious, with practical, knowledgeable gardeners happily building and primping alongside the Hardy’s team.
You’ll find me on the Hardy’s stand in the Great Pavilion (floral marquee) today (Tues 21stMay) so do come and say hi! And join me in wishing Rosy and her fabulous team @ Hardy’s Plants many congratulations on their 24th RHS Gold Award!