June 25, 2017

Latest:

New play areas set to be approved -

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Design contest launched for €30M concert centre in Kaunas, Lithuania -

Sunday, June 25, 2017

‘Customers put price first’, according to new tradespeople study -

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Well-known BBC gardener Bob Flowerdew to present talk on scented plants at Bishampton and District Gardening Club -

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Action needed on consistently poor planting rates -

Friday, June 23, 2017

ITV’S ‘Love your Garden’ features Addagrip’s Addaset resin bound surfacing for war veterans garden in Plymouth -

Friday, June 23, 2017

Fullers Mill Garden awarded Visit England Quality Rose Marque -

Friday, June 23, 2017

Large or small, Victorian or traditional, Griffin Glasshouses has it all -

Friday, June 23, 2017

The Land Trust acquires new sites to protect and enhance valuable community green space across the UK -

Friday, June 23, 2017

Peak’s quirky cows hit the heights -

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Public urged to nominate community groups for national awards -

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Wyevale Nurseries scoops six awards at HTA Show -

Thursday, June 22, 2017

New Scape paves the way with porcelain exterior tiling -

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Rolawn hit the mark at Gardeners’ World Live -

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Show Garden success for St Albans based company at BBC Gardeners’ World Live -

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Rare hazel dormice reintroduced into a Warwickshire woodland -

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Experience the mystery and romance of Galica’s ‘Pazo’ Gardens at RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show -

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Landscape Watering Systems looks at how effective irrigation systems, technology and practice provide a major contribution to water conservation -

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

GoLandscape’s ‘Watch this Space’ build begins at Hampton Court -

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Bradstone supports MS Society Garden at BBC Gardeners’ World Live 2017 -

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Hillier’s RHS Chelsea by numbers

Chelsea

Ever wondered what goes into planning and installing an award-winning RHS Chelsea Flower Show garden? Every millimetre of a show garden is meticulously thought through and each aspect has to be carried out with military precision. As Chelsea’s most successful exhibitor, no company knows this better than Hillier, who will this year be seeking its 72nd consecutive gold medal.

The Chelsea judges have a fine eye for detail so every little thing has to be absolutely perfect and according to the plan, as Hillier’s lead designer, Sarah Eberle knows all too well: “I have been known to lose best in show for a few screws out of line,”, she laments.

Keeping every element of show planning in order is an unceasing role, which for Hillier is taken on by office manager, Gill Mayo. For the last nine years, she has skilfully overseen Hillier’s show garden, from the point of inception through to the removal of the final plant from the show ground. Gill talks us through the logistics of how one of the most anticipated gardens at Chelsea comes together: “The numbers behind our garden are quite staggering. We have a team of 136 people involved from the build to the breakdown. Over those 19 days alone, we reckon this team work a total of 3,200 hours. Who knows how many more hours are dedicated before this time.”

“This year’s ‘Spring’ by Hillier garden will contain around 3,000 plants; 400 plant labels; 2,500 special copper plant tags for our Memory Tree feature; 19 pallets of bark; 6 pallets of smart cover and 112 bags of cement! The garden centralises around a one-tonne metallic spring measuring 12 metres long and four metres high, which feeds 3,000 litres of water into a pond weighing a staggering 350kg,” she says.

A fleet of 20 lorries will start making its way from Hillier Nurseries in Ampfield, Hampshire to the Chelsea site, with the first wheels turning on Wednesday 10 May. Before the lorries can set off though, the plants have to be ready. This is the job of Hillier’s head plantsman, Ricky Dorlay. This year will be Ricky’s 53rd year at the Chelsea Flower Show so he knows the intricacies inside out.

Perhaps one of the most pressurised jobs, Ricky is responsible for getting thousands of plants in perfect bloom at just the right time. He has to ensure everything looks flawless for show week, including factoring in how the delicate plants will cope with transportation – the unpredictable nature of plants does not make this task easy. Planning is key to this and Ricky and the nurseries team hold regular meetings with the designers, Sarah Eberle and Caitlin McLaughlin, to review the plants’ progress and guarantee that only the best in show make the final cut.

With 53 years of Chelsea experience, Ricky is well versed in the meticulous planning that is involved but comments that this year has been the trickiest in the last five years due to the changeable weather conditions. “The logistics and precise planning is all part of Chelsea! It’s fair to say that this years’ conditions have been the hardest and most difficult that we’ve known in recent years, particularly for the roses. With low temperatures and little sun, we’ve had to move them from the glasshouses to a warmer polytunnel. This year has been very cold and dry with poor night temperatures meaning that things haven’t grown as they should; I know other exhibitors will be finding the same too but we’re confident it’ll all be on track for show!”

For 2017, Ricky has devised a new detailed and complex colour-coded system for the lorry schedule to ensure everything comes off in the right order once it reaches the show ground. Then, it all has to put together, which is no mean feat. Ricky explains: “Once the lorries arrive, the next challenges arise with making sure everything is unloaded at the right time and in the right order, then delivered to the exact required spot. The unloading of heavy trees and shrubs can take an entire day with lining them up straight proving the trickiest part; this requires a forklift and a lot of physical strength and patience from our team!”

George Hillier comments: “The numbers involved in our Chelsea gardens are phenomenal, there are so many things to keep track of but Gill, Ricky and the team do a fantastic job – it wouldn’t be possible without them. There’s no break in the show cycle; the spreadsheet for the next show will be out as soon as this show finishes! There are a lot of impressive numbers, hopefully this year it will all culminate in the unprecedented 72!”

Ricky adds: “There’s not much of a lapse between shows. We’ll only have a short break then we’ll start planning next year with preparing the stock for this year’s growing season, ready for next year. But let’s tackle this year first!”

For more information, please visit www.hillier.co.uk. To join the conversation, search on Twitter using #HillierChelsea17 and follow @HillierGarden.

 

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