Put simply, our week at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show was simply brilliant from start to finish!
Set-up began on the Thursday prior to the Show’s opening, with phenomenal volunteer Dee and the great team at Graphic Mill transforming our spot on Cross Way with a touch of the charity’s signature colours and charm. The following day, volunteer Dee returned, along with Founder & Chair of Trustees, Dr Olivia Chapple, Events Assistant, Becca Dean and Communications Assistant, Alex Geaney, who all brought the tradestand to life by carefully showcasing a full selection of our beautifully bespoke products.
Attention then turned to placing the planters, all of which were designed by acclaimed garden designer and creator of Horatio’s Garden Midlands, Bunny Guinness. Once in place, Becca and Alex went to collect some stunning Clematis ‘Sacha’ from the renowned Raymond Evison, who generously donated the plants to the charity from his RHS Chelsea Gold Medal winning display in The Great Pavilion.
With more plants arriving on Sunday morning, Bunny and her daughter and fellow designer, Unity, spent many hours carefully planting each gorgeous container just as they planned many months ago. Naturally, the four planters looked absolutely exquisite, attracting a great deal of attention throughout the week, as did the flowers by the till which were generously donated by The Real Flower Company.
After a few final tweaks, all was quiet and ready for Press Day on Monday and what a day it turned out to be!
As well as featuring on BBC Radio Wiltshire, Founder & Chair of Trustees, Dr Olivia Chapple, and Executive Trustee, Victoria Holton, welcomed and chatted with countless celebrities, including Anneka Rice, Fiona Bruce, Mel Giedroyc, Tom Stuart-Smith, Jo Whiley, Rachel de Thame, Deborah Meaden, Anton Du Beke, Lisa Snowdon, James Alexander-Sinclair, along with models supporting The Parsley Box garden, Valerie and Tara Pain.
The two had an absolutely fantastic day chatting to supporters old and new, which set the tone for the rest of the week.
Volunteer Dee, Founder Olivia and various volunteers all kindly tended the tradestand throughout the event, with each and every person sharing how much they’d enjoyed their time at RHS Chelsea. It was particularly fabulous for our Head Gardeners, who all met together in person for the first time, with Head Gardener of our Midlands sanctuary, Imogen Jackson, even managing to give an excellent interview to BBC Radio Shropshire en route to London!
It was a delight to meet so many incredible people across the seven days, with more familiar faces dropping by to say ‘hello’, including George Plumptre, Chief Executive of our magnificent supporter, The National Garden Scheme, two-time RHS Chelsea Gold Medal winner and designer of Horatio’s Garden Wales, Sarah Price, and talented florist and designer, Carien van Boxtel, who got creative on Instagram with one of our Emma Bridgewater mugs.
And, of course, it wouldn’t have been a week at RHS Chelsea without a visit from our favourite Chelsea Pensioners too!
As per RHS Chelsea tradition, the occasion called for the launch of some fabulous new products, with our brand new Christmas Card, designed by artist Claire Waltier MacGillivray, now set to make many people’s festive celebrations merry and bright this winter.
Alongside Claire’s creation, a host of other items made their debut, with the stand featuring an Allium Pinafore Apron and Dragonfly Bag (now sold out!) bearing illustrations by artist Sarah Hough, Orange and Clove candles crafted by The Spitalfield Candle Company, a Honeysuckle & Tulip Laptray created by artist Katy McIntyre-Brown and our sumptuous new All-Weather Kit Bag designed and handmade by leading leather craftsman, Bill Amberg.
We were lucky enough to be joined by Bill on the tradestand on Tuesday too, where he was happily embossing people’s initials onto their new boot bags for free. Something which definitely made for some very happy customers!
It was truly wonderful and moving to see so many people shopping to support the charity, whilst others simply made extraordinarily generous donations to help us continue our work too.
We are enormously grateful to every single person who took the time to visit us and we’re already excited to make our return to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in May next year!