Hertfordshire's hopes for RHS Chelsea Flower Show

PUBLISHED: 15:16 15 February 2010 | UPDATED: 15:11 20 February 2013

'Guy's Gold' from Harkness Roses

'Guy's Gold' from Harkness Roses

Philippa Pearson finds out which Hertfordshire exhibitors have their sights set on a prestigious medal award at this year's RHS Chelsea Flower Show

The Gardens
The Laurent-Perrier Garden
Tom Stuart-Smith, who lives near Abbots Langley, has previously won six gold medals at Chelsea and honoured with Best in Show in 2003 and 2006. This year's garden is a contemplative, dreamy and slightly surreal space combining layers of plants, textures and hard landscaping features. Thirty-year-old cloud pruned hornbeams look over Flemish brick paths and a terrace whilst zinc water tanks and a zinc wall blend with the predominantly green herbaceous planting.

The Good Gifts Garden
With two gold medals and BBC/RHS People's Awards plus Best Courtyard Garden in 2007, Adam Woolcott, Jonathan Smith and Cormac Conway from Bishop's Stortford are hoping to make it a hat trick with their nostalgic coastal garden. Evocative of seaside holidays from the 1950s, the garden features a sandy beach with a rock pool and plants that thrive in coastal environments; authentic memorabilia complete the scene.

The Simmons & Simmons Garden: A Journey to Work
Eight former garden design students from Oaklands College, St Albans, have got together to form 'Growing Ambition'. Their first time at Chelsea, the women have created a garden designed for a solicitor who works from an office at the back of the garden. A curved path is flanked by contemporary planting using exotic and hardy plants.

The Grand Pavilion
Rothamsted Research is showing the versatility of willow for their interpretation of the RHS theme, 'Gardening With Climate Change'. On display will be willow plants in various stages of coppicing and information on how this plant is an important renewable energy source. Rothamsted Research is National Collection holder of willows (Salix) at its centre inHarpenden.
The Historic Roses Group, based at the Gardens of the Rose in Chiswell Green, is also addressing the theme with a useful exhibit showing rose selection for different climatic conditions. On display are climbing and shrub roses for hot and wet, hot and dry, cold and wet and cold and dry situations.
Hitchin-based family company Harkness Roses are launching three new roses at the show. 'White Star' is a repeat blooming disease resistant climbing rose with fragrant semi-double flowers and dark foliage. 'Violet Cloud' has gorgeous musk scented lilac single flowers that bloom from late June to October. 'Guy's Gold' is a compact Hybrid Tea with rich yellow flowers, ideal for cutting. It was launched to celebrate Guy's Hospital nurses league.

Several floral displays are being created by Hertfordshire flower arrangers. Anneli Densham from Harpenden and Tan Strong from Cholesbury are creating an arrangement in the Overture theme. Tan, who teaches flower arranging, is also doing a floral demonstration on Friday 23rd in the Grand Pavilion.
St Albans Flower Club have also chosen the Overture theme for their creation whilst South Stevenage Flower Club will be doing a naturalistic display under the Forces of Nature category.

All around the show site there are lots of interesting and useful stands showing anything from garden tools to an elaborate planter. Contemporary African art from Stanstead Abbots-based Guruve includes sculptures from Zimbabwe, paintings, metalwork and limited edition prints.
Evelyn Binns from Clothall, Baldock, has a new collection of original botanical watercolour paintings on paper and vellum and a unique range of botanical dcor panels, Fleurs de Verre, for interiors and garden schemes. She'll also have information on her watercolour painting holidays and non-residential courses.
A corner of an English village is the theme for J's Pots and Potted Gardens from Broxbourne. Julia Skinner scours the country for antique, traditional and contemporary pots, statues and garden ornaments in stone, copper, lead and iron.
The Recycling Range of mowers from renowned Bishop's Stortford based company Hayter are worth seeking out. In addition to conventional grass collecting, clippings are recycled back to the lawn, helping to maintain a healthy and green turf.
In their 10th year of exhibiting at the show, Sunlander, from Markyate, will have a collection of classical and contemporary cast aluminium furniture for interiors and gardens.

How to survive the RHS Chelsea Flower Show
Plan ahead
Decide in advance what areas or exhibitors you particularly want to see. Visit the RHS website for more details
at www.rhs.org.uk

Tickets are only available in advance, not at the gate. RHS Member's days are May 20 and 21; public days are May 22-24. Buy tickets online from RHS website or 0870 906 3780 (members) 0870 906 3781 (non-members). The show opens at 8am each morning
and is less crowded then.

Show catalogue
Buy in advance from the website or at the gate to plan your route around the showground beforehand.

Make a note
Take a notebook and pen to jot down plant names or equipment. Also useful to get celebrity autographs. Change
is useful for plant catalogues in the Grand Pavilion.

The catering stalls get very busy at peak times so take some water and snacks to keep you going. You can book a table and three course lunch in advance at the Rock Bank Restaurant. 0845 260 7000

What not to wear
Comfortable shoes and a raincoat are essential. Rucksacks and big bags should be avoided: check these into the cloakroom until you need them.

Buying plants
You can only order plants for collection/delivery later on. However, at 4pm on the Saturday there is a sell-off. RHS members are re-admitted then on production of their membership card, receipt or ticket stub. Think about how you'll get all the plants home, too.

Further information
Contact the RHS Show recorded information line on 020 7649 1885

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