Home Horticultural shows RHS Chelsea: Floral highlights and Great Pavilion awards

RHS Chelsea: Floral highlights and Great Pavilion awards

HM The Queen admiring floral displays in the Great Pavilion. Picture; RHS/Luke MacGregor
HM The Queen admiring floral displays in the Great Pavilion. Picture; RHS/Luke MacGregor

Flowers, bees and gold medals by the score

The gold medal winning Hillier stand
The gold medal-winning Hillier stand

Hillier extends world record gold medal run

Hillier has won its 74th consecutive gold medal at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, consolidating its status as the most successful exhibitor in the show’s history.

The Stihl Hillier Garden is designed by Lilly Gomm, who makes her Chelsea debut.

The central element, alongside the thousands of beautiful plants, is the striking water feature that brings a feeling of calm and elegance.

George Hillier, fifth generation family member and director of property at Hillier, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have received yet another gold medal. We get asked if we get complacent about getting gold – if anything it’s the opposite.”


Mary Berry examines the roses in the Great Pavilion. Picture; David Austin Roses
Mary Berry examines the roses in the Great Pavilion. Picture; David Austin Roses

David Austin’s 25th gold medal

David Austin Roses has won its 25th gold medal with a Secret Garden themed display featuring two striking English Roses, Eustacia Vye (Ausegdon) and Gabriel Oak(Auscrowd).

David Austin, managing director, said: “Chelsea is always a very special occasion for us and this year it is particularly so, as the first since my father’s passing. I’m sure Mr A would have been both humbled by and proud of this significant achievement – our 25th gold medal.”

For further information visit www.davidaustinroses.co.uk.


Per Oculus Apum installation

The tunnel on the Chelsea site is a tricky one to dress up but Mc Queen’s Flowers Per Oculus Apum installation (Through the Eyes of Bees) has nailed it.

It’s an immense 20m long by 7m immersive installation that focuses on glorious wild, organic bee-friendly flowers and includes an upside-down lavender field, very timely with World Bee Day this week.

This striking display is evocative of how bees see flowers in ultra-violet (UV). The flowers form a canopy across the ceiling and curve in a half-turn helix downwards spilling out on to the floor in a wave shape.

An oscillating soundscape of the electrostatic patters that help guide bees to the flowers can be heard. Miller Harris has provided a honey scent trail to complete the experience.


Medwyn and Gwenda Williams with their gold medal. Picture; Cartwright Communications
Medwyn and Gwenda Williams with their gold medal. Picture; Cartwright Communications

Medwyn Williams’ gold medal-winning veg

Champion grower Medwyn Williams has won his 12th gold medal at Chelsea, an achievement that has never been realised with vegetables before.

Medwyn has been working with sponsors CANNA, producer of nutrients and growing mediums, to develop the biggest and best vegetables possible.

His stand flies the Welsh flag with pride, showing giant leeks and the new tomatoes Y Ddraig Goch (The Red Dragon) F1 hybrid and the Maisey, named after grower Charles Maisey and miniature okra, Baby Bubba.

A Welsh dragon was carved from vegetables in honour of the Y Ddraig Goch launch.

Medwyn said: “Chelsea is the horticultural Olympic Games, so to achieve a gold medal upon my return means a lot to me and makes the months of hard work worth it.”


Sparsholt College staff with their Best in Class Award. Picture; Thompson & Morgan
Sparsholt College’s Chris Bird receives the Best in Class Award from RHS president Sir Nicholas Bacon. Picture; Thompson & Morgan

Behind the Genes Garden Best in Class Award

The Behind the Genes Garden by Thompson & Morgan was awarded Best in Class and a gold medal.

Designed and created in partnership with Sparsholt College Hampshire the garden in the Discovery area of the Great Pavilion received the highest point score – 15 out of a possible maximum of 16.

Thompson & Morgan’s Lance Russell said: “I’m just so thrilled that the garden has been so well received by the RHS judges. All our hard work has paid off!”


National Chrysanthemum Society New Design Award winner. Picture; RHS/Luke MacGregor
National Chrysanthemum Society New Design Award winner. Picture; RHS/Luke MacGregor

Great Pavilion medals

  • The Diamond Jubilee Award: Kelnan Plants
  • The President’s Award: Harts Nursery
  • RHS Chelsea Plant of the Year 2019: Sedum takesimense Atlantis (‘Nonsitnal’)
  • Best Discovery Exhibit: Sparsholt College
  • New Design Award: National Chrysanthemum Society
  • Best Trade Stand: Dobbies Garden Centre
Floella's Future by Birmingham City Council. Picture; RHS/SarahCuttle
Floella’s Future by Birmingham City Council. Picture; RHS/SarahCuttle
Gold medal winners
  • Andy’s Air Plants: A display of terrestrial and epiphytic bromeliads
  • Barbados Horticultural Society: The Charter of Barbados
  • Birmingham City Council: Floella’s Future
  • Blackmore & Langdon Ltd: Begonias and Delphiniums
  • Bloms Bulbs: Cut tulips
  • Brighter Blooms: Zantedeschia (Calla)
  • Brookfield Plants: A display of miniature to giant hostas
  • Calamazag Nursery: Large range of hardy scented Dianthus
  • Chrysanthemums Direct: Cut flower bloom and spray chrysanthemums
  • Craig House Cacti: Cacti and succulents in a modern setting
  • David Austin Roses Ltd: English roses, old roses and ramblers
  • Derbyshire Bonsai: Bonsai trees and Japanese maples
  • Dibleys Nurseries: Streptocarpus and other houseplants
  • Eagle Sweet Peas: Sweet peas arranged in baskets
  • Every Picture Tells a Story Ltd: Bromeliads in a natural setting with associated plants
  • Federation of British Bonsai Societies: A display of Bonsai trees grown in the UK
  • Grafton Nursery: Hardy Eucalyptus trees suitable for UK gardens
  • Hampshire Carnivorous Plants: A display showing the diversity of Sarracenia
  • Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants: Herbaceous perennials
  • Harts Nursery: Lilies
  • Hewitt-Cooper Carnivorous Plants: Tropical and temperate carnivorous plants
  • Hillier Nurseries Ltd: Trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants in a garden setting
  • Hippopottering Nursery: Japanese maples grown peat free and organically
  • Hoyland Plant Centre: Agapanthus, Nerine and × Amarine
  • Hoyland Plant Centre: A display of Clivia
  • Jacques Amand International Ltd: Selection of bulbous plants & flowers enhanced by supporting material
  • Kelnan Plants: Mature restios and South African flora
  • Kevock Garden Plants: Alpine, bog and woodland plants
  • Medwyns of Anglesey: Display of vegetables
  • Mendip Bonsai Studio: Single species display of Satsuki azaleas
  • National Chrysanthemum Society: Display of chrysanthemums – different types and forms creating childhood memories
  • National Dahlia Collection: Vegetables, dahlias and associated plants
  • New Forest Hostas & Hemerocallis: The Hosta collector’s garden
  • Norfield Nurseries Ltd: Acers and Japanese maples
  • Orchid Society of Great Britain: The different environments orchids grow in
  • Ottershaw Cacti: Cacti and other succulents
  • Palms Exotics Ltd: Palms trees, Dasylirion, yuccas and agaves
  • Peter Beales Roses: Old fashioned and contemporary roses
  • Pheasant Acre Plants: Gladioli
  • Plantagogo: Heuchera, ×Heucherella & Tiarella
  • Primrose Hall Peonies: Love peonies
  • Pure Grenada: A Carnival of Exotic Tropical Blooms
  • Raymond Evison Clematis: Clematis cultivars
  • Rotherview Nursery: Planted hypertufa troughs with crevice feature
  • Roualeyn Fuchsias: Fun of the Fuchsia
  • South African National Biodiversity Institute – Kirstenbosch: Mountains of abundance
  • Sparsholt College: Behind the Genes
  • The Botanic Nursery: Early flowering foxgloves from The National Collection
  • The Salutation Garden and Nursery: Perennial seed heads for winter gardens
  • Thorncroft Clematis: Celebrating 30 years of retailing Clematis plants
  • Gold Trinidad & Tobago Exotic Blooms: Bromeliads, airplants and associated plants
  • Tynings Climbers: Hardy and tender climbers
  • University of Reading: Ornamental plants: our future invaders?
  • W.S. Warmenhoven: Allium, Amaryllis and Nectaroscordum
  • Wack’s Wicked Plants: Formal display of hardy carnivorous plants
  • Walkers Bulbs @Taylors: Daffodils
  • West Country Nurseries: Tiered display of lupins
Alliums on the WS Warmenhoven Stand. Picture; RHS/Suzanne Plunkett
Alliums on the WS Warmenhoven Stand. Picture; RHS/Suzanne Plunkett
Silver-gilt medals
  • Binny Plants: Display of peonies with other perennials
  • Bowdens Nursery Ltd: Hostas, tree ferns and ferns
  • Burncoose Nurseries: Trees shrubs and perennials
  • Cayeux Iris: Tall and intermediate bearded Iris
  • Cook’s Garden Centre: Collection of hydrangeas with accent planting
  • Daisy Roots: Perennials and grasses
  • D’arcy & Everest: Display of alpines, sempervivums & rare plants
  • Hare Spring Cottage Plants: Hardy plants with a Yorkshire dry stone feature
  • Harkness Roses: A display of easy-to-grow garden roses
  • Heucheraholics: Heucheras, ×heucherellas, tiarellas
  • Hogarth Hostas: National Collection of small & miniature hostas
  • Lime Cross Nursery: Conifers
  • McBean’s Orchids: Orchids
  • Millais Nurseries: ‘100 years of Exbury Rhododendrons’
  • NAFAS: Flower Arrangement Celebrating NAFAS at 60
  • Newlands Nursery: Chillies and herb plants
  • Orchideengarten & OSSEA: Orchid hybrids and the threat to orchid species
  • Pennard Plants: Wartime garden – May 1939
  • Perennial Gardeners’ Royal Benevolent Society: The Perennial Lifeline Garden
  • Potash Nursery: Fuchsias
  • Staddon Farm Nurseries: Primula sieboldii in an edge-of-woodland setting
  • Summerdale Garden Nursery: Primulas, auriculas and shade lovers in a plantsman’s garden
  • Tendercare Nurseries Limited: Bauhaus – 100 years of form and function
  • The Real Flower Company: From farm to vase
  • W Robinson & Son (Seeds & Plants) Ltd: Vegetables for all tastes and seasons
Silver medals
  • Allium National Collection: Alliums in flowers, leaves, seed heads and bulbs
  • City Harvest: Food for All
  • Genetics Society: A flowering of genetics: celebrating 100 years of the Genetics Society
  • House of Wayward Plants: RHS Plant Reuse Scheme
  • Letham Plants: Astrantia
  • Plants Delivered: Exotic plants for a UK climate
  • Todd’s Botanics: Drought-tolerant plants and structural planting
  • Westdale Nurseries: Bougainvilleas
Bronze medals
  • Forest Carbon: Certified UK woodlands for a changing climate
  • Horticultural Trade Association: National Children’s Gardening Week

Floral Design Studio. Picture; RHS/Sarah Cuttle
Floral Design Studio. Picture; RHS/Sarah Cuttle

Floristry Awards

  • Florist of the Year and gold medal winner: Helen Pannitt, Helen James Flowers
Silver-gilt medals
  • Helen Joyce: By Arrangement Florist
  • Dean Sharpes: Floral Studio
  • Ann Kirkwood: The Woodshed Flowers
Silver medals
  • Anne Whysall Florists
  • Katerina Holisova: Chelsea Flowers
  • Anna Slade: Darts Farm Florist
  • Jackie Le Jehan
  • Pippa Craigen
  • Emma Keeler: Sonning Flowers
Bronze medals
  • Trudy Holt: By Arrangement Florist
  • Jacalyn Arscott: Cottage Flowers
  • Lucinda Knapman: West Bognor Flower Club

For floral arrangement awards, please visit here: https://www.rhs.org.uk/shows/rhs-chelsea-flower-show/awards

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Mandy Watson is a freelance journalist and an incurable plantaholic. MandyCanUDigIt grew from the tiny seed of a Twitter account into the rainforest of information you see before you. Gardening columnist for the Sunderland Echo, Shields Gazette and Hartlepool Mail and editor of the Teesdale Mercury Magazine. Attracted by anything rebellious, exotic and nerdy, even after all these years. Passionate about northern England and gardens everywhere. Falls over a lot.

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