For the past twelve months we have been preparing for this years Chelsea Flower show. We have been growing herbs for three show gardens, the Arthritis Research UK garden designed by Tom Hoblyn, the L’Occitane immortelle garden designed by Peter Dowle and the RCB Blue Water garden designed by Nigel Dunnett and the Landscape agency. To say that it has been a difficult growing year would be an understatement. The weather has been so unpredictable. So much so that, today , as I sit here writing this Blog, I have heard it is snowing in the north of England and we are forecast to have a frost tonight.
Here is my photographic diary of the key points of the final 5 months.
Germination of all the annuals in January was extremely good due to the excellent light levels.
Horticultural fleece not only acts like a duvet to the young plants it also is a very good barrier for pests like carrot fly and flea beetle.
At the end of the month we did the first ‘Chelsea chop’ of the nasturtium flowers, this was repeated weekly to prohibit them from setting seed which would stop them flowering.
However there were some high points at the end of the month.
These Melanoselinum were looking fantastic and, due to the cold weather, I knew they would just hang on for the big event.
The red orach, sown in January, is spot on despite the weather and
this thyme was spot on with flower and would be a show stopper.
The pressure is really on, we spend hours tidying the plants prior to delivery and hoping that the key plants pop into flower. The one giving me the most worry were the poppies, they have had lovely buds since the end of March but no flower, then a week before they were due to leave the flowers started to appear.
The week before the show opens we start delivering all the plants that we have grown to the respective gardens.
The weather was not kind, this was a very painful downpour of hail.
3 long journeys to London expertly driven by Jim accompanied by Carol, and they were all safely delivered to the designers.
Today I start preparing for our stand at the show. We have been given a very prestigious site SW1, which fronts onto the Main avenue. The story of which will follow in the next Blog.
After a major tidy up of the herb farm we will start our preparations for Chelsea 2013 which will be the 100th Chelsea Flower show. This I am sure will be another amazing epic in the history of the best flower show in the world.