Wildflower Turf at RHS Chelsea 2014

Every year we have a flurry of activity with the start of the ‘show’ season, with all sorts of wonderful requests for wildflower turf, this year has been no exception. We are able to offer both a ‘grow on’ service for which we have designated ‘show beds’ at our nursery from which clients can choose. If the show is earlier in the season, the designer is able to take the turf rolled and grow it on themselves within a polytunnel.
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We wanted to share with you our 2014 RHS Chelsea stories, as we are so very proud to have provided such an array of turf with outstanding results.

Charlotte Rowe has designed her first show garden on Main Avenue at RHS Chelsea, marking the centenary of World War One, created in partnership with ABF The Soldiers’ Charity. It is a conceptual representation of the landscape of World War One and serves as a poignant reminder of the challenges and hardships faced by soldiers 100 years ago, while highlighting the work of The Soldiers’ Charity helping those facing challenges and hardships today.
When we first saw Charlotte’s design, we knew that it would be a fantastic project to be involved in and one in which are turf could play a key part. The design reflects how the landscape of the Western Front, though changed forever, has regenerated and ‘healed.’ The design incorporate a large grassy mound signifying the German burial mounds, a key element of the design.
Charlotte first came down to Wildflower Turf with Brian Herbert from Outdoor Options in 2013 to describe the look and feel she wanted to create. We were able to show her a wide range of products from which she could choose the grass and wildflower mix. We then grew on a beautiful spring meadow turf that can be seen throughout the design, Charlotte used 140m² within her design. On press day Charlotte had a fabulous array of stage and screen personalities to read WW1 poetry including Rowan Atkinson, Stephen Fry, Jeremy Paxman and Caroline Quentin as well as a visit from Joey, the National Theatre War Horse.

There has been a phenomenal amount of work involved in this design and Charlotte has written a wonderful blog describing the show garden from start to finish. You can read it here. Charlotte was awarded a Gold Medal this morning, tweeting ‘Thrilled, delighted, overwhelmed, relieved and so excited’, she and the team at Outdoor Options richly deserve the acclaim that goes with this amazing achievement at RHS Chelsea. We will be featuring this garden in more detail soon.
Rowan Atkinson chelsea 7
THE NIGHT SKY GARDEN – RICH LANDSCAPES                                                  
Harry and David Rich are certainly names to watch, at 26 and 23 they are two of the youngest designers ever to create a show garden. They specialise in interpreting their native landscape, using environmentally kind materials and sympathetic planting. They have designed ‘The Night Sky Garden’ which depicts stars, constellations, meteors and the milky way with natural planting in spirals, stonewalls, boulders and copper discs. We provided them with species rich turf, which has 26 species of grasses and wildflowers, providing wonderful benefits to wildlife compared to traditional lawn turf.  

THE PAPER CHASE – SPARSHOLT COLLEGE                                                          
BEST IN CATEGORY WITH A GOLD MEDAL                                        
We were delighted to be helping out a local college which happens to be one of the leading land-based colleges in the UK. Sparsholt College are exhibiting in the new Discovery Area in the Great Pavilion and were awarded ‘Best in Category’ with a Gold Medal, what an outstanding achievement!
They have picked up on the theme of sustainability and the environment with the botanical source of paper and how it is used in everyday life. With Huhtamaki being their sponsor, an environmentally friendly BioWare packaging, students from the college have been inspired to grow their plants for the show in compost created from the disposable BioWare cups used by all the campus students.

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Having worked with Owen on a previous show garden, Gardeners World Live, earlier this year, we were delighted to be able to provide our native wildflower landscape turf for use on his RHS Chelsea exhibit within the Discovery Area of the Great Pavilion. ‘The Treasured Space’ is a concept that promotes environmental sustainability and features a plastic bottle greenhouse built with hundreds of bottles collected from one of his local primary schools. It hopes to demonstrate how everyday outdoor space can transform lives across the UK and how everyone has a treasured spot. Whether it’s a bench for quiet reflection, a place to grow vegetables or a space to kick a football. It’s a lovely concept and it hopes to give practical ideas that people can take away with them. Congratulations on your Bronze Medal, Owen, we hope to see you at Chelsea again next year.
Owen Morgan - Mosaic Garden design Chelsea 1chelsea 5 chelsea 6
Pennard Plants are to be found in the Great Pavilion exhibiting another WW1 themed garden. It features two different areas of garden, a vegetable garden beautifully maintained, as it would have been before the outbreak of war and that which had been neglected after the gardeners had deserted to go to battle. Our turf was featured last night on BBC2  under the fruit trees within this neglected area, at which time Andy Sturgeon declared the wild side looked glorious. Pennards stand received a Silver Gilt Medal this morning – fantastic!!

CHELSEA FRINGE -ST PANCRAS STATION                                              
Whilst a lot of the hype remains in SW4, the Chelsea Fring festival pops up throughout London and further afield. We were delighted to be contacted by Clifton Nurseries last week who took our turf straight from our ‘Show Bed’ and transported it up to St Pancreas Station for their fabulous Provencal Garden.

Visitors can expect to be transported to the magnificent French countryside. As soon as you enter the space you will be greeted by the wonderful smells of lavender, jasmine and rosemary and see the beautiful wildflower in between. Looking out over the lavender you’ll forget that you are in the centre of London and be transported to the rolling countryside of rural France with stunning backdrops of fields of purple.

With more ‘Show Turf’ booked to go to both Hampton and Tatton in the coming months, this is surely a bumper year for naturalised design incorporating the very best wildflower turf!