With just one week to go until the big show, here’s Gary’s sixth installment
‘It’s almost time! We leave for the Chelsea Flower Show on Thursday.
We are just putting together the finishing touches to the plants we intend to use in our display, making sure they are clean and that flowers are at the right stage, bearing in mind that judging takes place on Monday and that temperatures are set to rise in the south over the next few days, so we need to make sure flowers are not too far open at this stage.
We are leaving for the show a little earlier this year, arriving on Thursday afternoon, which means we should avoid the rush and get easier access to the showground. Show gardens will almost be finished by now, as work started on those about three weeks ago.
Everything needs to be finished by Sunday evening. Monday is the judging and press day. Many of the larger exhibitors have celebrity endorsement which attracts a lot of interest from the press. This year our neighbours for the week are the Barbados Horticultural Society and Birmingham City Council, so there should be a lot of activity around us on press day.
At 3pm the majority of the press, celebrities and everyone without a “private view” pass must leave the showground and preparations are made for the visit of the Royal Family. I am allowed to remain in the Great Pavillion during the visit, suited and booted to answer any questions about my exhibit.
We are also very close this year to the Raymond Evison Clematis exhibit and traditionally the Queen visits this display because it provides a good photo opportunity.
However, before all of this we need to prepare plants and all of the things we need to take with us to London. The plants we will use are scattered around the nursery at the moment because some need to be kept cool and shaded whilst others need a little more heat and sun. Celmisia always attracts a lot of interest at Chelsea and this year it looks spectacular. We will collect everything together in a day or so and hopefully, everything will go smoothly.’