Road to Chelsea – Part 2 | Living North

Road to Chelsea – Part 2


Anemone ©
Having won two gold medals in two years at RHS Chelsea Flower Show, Harperley Hall Farm Nurseries in County Durham are making a name for themselves
'It takes a team of three people four days to build our exhibit, but much of the work is already well underway at the nursery.'
Anemone © Harperley Hall Farm Nurseries

You can join us here every week where Gary will be keeping us up to date with preparations. With five weeks to go until the big show, here’s the second installment

‘There are less than five weeks to go now before we arrive on site at the Royal Hospital in Chelsea to build our display for the Chelsea Flower Show. It takes a team of three people four days to build our exhibit, but much of the work is already well underway at the nursery.

It is a very busy time for us at present. As well as preparing for Chelsea we are well into the bedding plant season and stock is being delivered to nurseries and garden centres on a daily basis in time for the Easter weekend, which is often a busy time for garden centres.

We are also preparing for the Harrogate Flower Show, which starts on 24th April. It has been quite a strange spring for us. It was a mild winter and relatively mild spring; some plants have certainly responded to this and flowered a little early, whilst others which would normally have already flowered even in a cold spring are yet to show any colour. For example, we grow a lot of varieties of woodland anemones, which often are coming to an end by now, but this year are only just starting to flower.

In terms of exhibiting at flower shows it’s a little scary, not knowing what plants will be in flower, but makes the shows quite interesting for visitors, giving them the chance to see different plants and displays.

Along with all of this, our Chelsea exhibit is starting to come together. We have started to plant up pots of sempervivum (houseleeks) in salt-glazed alpine pans, which will be included in the alpine courtyard area of our display. We plant up pots a little while before the show to give them chance to knit together and hopefully look like they have been planted for ages!

At this time we are also having to re-think our plans and face up to the fact that some of the plants we wanted to exhibit just won’t be in good enough condition for the show. I find this really frustrating because it seems the list of things we can’t use is longer than the list of things we can, so sleepless nights are on the horizon.

While it’s not the end of the world if we don’t get awarded a gold medal, it’s important to me to make as good a job of things as possible, and whilst most people who know me would say I’m very relaxed and laid back, in reality, I am ultra competitive!

We are a wholesale and mail order nursery, but if anyone wants to see first-hand how our Chelsea preparations are going we have several open days during the season. The dates for the next ones are Sunday 20th April and Sunday 4th May between 10am and 4pm.’

Road to Chelsea - Part Three

Published in: April 2014

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