Road to Chelsea – Part 4 | Living North

Road to Chelsea – Part 4

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We’re following Gary McDermott and the team at Harperley Hall Farm Nurseries in County Durham as they prepare for the Chelsea Flower Show

You can read our interview with Gary in the May issue of Living North. With three weeks to go until the big show, here’s Gary’s fourth installment

‘This week we have just returned from the Harrogate Flower Show. We had a great show and were very pleased to be awarded a gold medal for our display of woodland plants.
The show was very busy, particularly the first two days. We had some very positive comments from customers, many of whom come back to us year after year.

Harrogate Flower Show is usually our first flower show of the year and it’s always good to have the first show under our belts. It gets us back into the swing of exhibits, making sure we have all of the things we need to build shows and getting us ready for the busy season ahead. It’s also a trial run for our next exhibit at Chelsea, although our display there is much larger.

The Chelsea Flower Show is now only around three weeks away. We leave for London on 15th May, so time is going by very quickly now.

At Harrogate many people were asking how our preparations for Chelsea were coming along and were surprised to hear that most preparations were still to be done. Although the bones of our exhibit have been in place for some time, we don’t make any final selections on plants until nearer the time, so we can choose the plants which will look best for the show. So at this stage there is a lot of moving plants around. Some need to be under glass, while others need to be outside to slow them down a little. We are also feeding and cleaning plants regularly, so they will look their best for the show.

Although we are not able to sell plants at Chelsea, we can sell young plug plants and seeds. So we are also busy propagating the types of plants we are using in our display to pack into plug packs.

We exhibited at Chelsea Flower Show in 2012 and 2013 and were awarded gold medals on each occasion. However, as things stand at the moment, I’m not so confident we can make it a hat-trick, so the next few weeks will be spent on the detail of our exhibit, which is very important. RHS judges are very experienced plants people and will consider whether or not plant associations are correct, for example could you grow the plants in the exhibit together in a garden situation.

For the time being then we are keeping our heads down, preparing very hard, and hoping the weather has no surprises in store for us.’

Road to Chelsea - Part Five

Published in: April 2014

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