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What Made Exhibiting at The Chelsea Flower Show Most Challenging Was The Question of Logistics.

How does it feel to exhibit at the prestigious Chelsea Flower Show?

How much work and preparation is involved, and how do you make sure each and every plant is in perfect condition at the right time? How do you ensure the plants arrive at their final destination looking their best? Well, the person best placed to answer that is Ladybrook Nursery horticulturalist, Janine Crimmins. Here’s what she had to say about Ladybrook Nursery’s involvement in this year’s award-winning ‘Dark Matter’ Fresh Garden.

How did you feel when you were approached about exhibiting at the Chelsea Flower Show?

“Naturally we were delighted. Chelsea is the most important show in the horticultural calendar, and always attracts huge crowds. It’s exciting to be involved in something as big and prestigious as that. What was especially gratifying was that we’d worked with Howard’s team before so we knew what was expected of us. What’s more because they were locally based they were able to come down and look at the plants and spend some time self-tending.”

What was the brief for the Fresh Garden, and how did you go about cultivating the plants?

“Howard contacted Ladybrook Nursery in January and asked us to supply a variety of grasses and flowers for the show garden based on a colour theme that was predominantly orange and yellow. Once we understood the brief, we sourced the plants and then grew them on so that they were in perfect condition for the show.”

“The weeks preceding Chelsea were pretty intense as you can imagine. We had to devote lots of tender loving care to the stock to make sure the plants were in absolutely tip-top condition for the show. In order to achieve that, we kept the show plants in special areas separate from our other stock. We also had to make sure the plants were specially packed for transportation. In that way we could guarantee that they would arrive in perfect condition.”

Did you find the prospect of exhibiting at such a prestigious horticultural show daunting?

“Well, it certainly presented a challenge, but I’m not sure I’d say we found it daunting. If anything we found it challenging, and that made it exciting. Besides we’d exhibited at Chelsea before, and we’d also exhibited frequently at Tatton, so we knew what to expect. The only difference was that when we exhibit at Tatton we can pop over 2 or 3 times a day. With Chelsea, that simply wasn’t an option, so we had to make sure everything was properly organised and coordinated.”

“What made exhibiting at Chelsea more challenging was the question of logistics. When we exhibit at Tatton we can pop over to the show frequently to check that everything is displayed as it should be. At Chelsea you have to queue for several hours just to get in and out, so we had to set aside a full day for travelling and for setting up the plants. That necessitated an overnight stop because of the restrictions on driving hours.”

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