Haddonstone’s award winning exhibit at The Chelsea Flower Show 2017

Haddonstone, the UK’s leading manufacturer of fine garden ornaments and architectural stonework, has been awarded a 4 Star Tradestand Award at the prestigious Chelsea Flower Show 2017.

Designed by Simon Scott, a previous Chelsea Show Garden medal winner, the exhibit is a classically inspired garden incorporating a landscape folly, a water feature and garden ornaments. Haddonstone’s exhibit is in Southern Row, stand SR35.

Simon Scott, Marketing Director, comments ‘We are delighted to have won the award as it represents a reward for all of the hard work that has gone into designing and constructing such a magnificent exhibit. My thanks go out to the exhibition build team and in particular to Mick Teall who lead the construction team and Andy Miller who was responsible for the planting.’
Established in 1971, Haddonstone is the UK’s leading manufacturer of fine garden ornaments and architectural stonework in traditional, classical and contemporary styles. Based at East Haddon, in the rolling countryside of Northamptonshire, Haddonstone has beautiful show gardens and an interior showroom where visitors can see many of the designs in their intended setting. The gardens are open to the public Monday-Friday from 9.00am until 5.00pm (excluding public holidays and the Christmas period). The gardens will also open on the first Saturday of the month from April to September. Haddonstone exhibits each year at the Chelsea Flower Show.

Memories Are Made of Chelsea

At Chelsea Flower Show 2017, we invited visitors to play their part in Chelsea history by leaving a lasting memory in our memory book and hanging tags on our Davidia involucrata (‘Pocket Handkerchief tree’).

The Memory Tree initiative has been supported by Hillier charity partner Wessex Cancer Trust. To kick it off, a number of famous faces, garden designers and personalities kindly shared their memories, signing unique wooden tags. The first of these was shared by gardening legend, long-term supporter of Wessex Cancer Trust and Chelsea Flower Show favourite, Alan Titchmarsh MBE VMH DL.

Alan Titchmarsh adds the first memory to our memory book


These special wooden tags, together with the memories shared, will be auctioned after the show to raise funds for Wessex Cancer Trust. Details of how to participate in the auction will be announced in due course.

Joanna Lumley takes a quiet moment to share her gardening memory

Dame Judi Dench, who was at the show to launch her namesake rose by David Austin Roses, shares a few thoughtful words

Gardener and presenter Rachel de Thame, pictured here with Jim Hillier from our Trees division, also signed a tag  


The collection of hundreds of additional memories across the week, commemorated by the hanging of delicate copper tags, was also a huge success. By the close of Chelsea week, passersby were stopping underneath the branches of the Davidia, mesmerised by the twinkling of sunlight bouncing off copper from every angle. Fond gardening memories were collected from all over the world, from Chelsea regulars to those superfans of the show from Australia.

Each copper tag on the tree commemorates a memory shared


Thank you to every visitor who took the time to share their memories – happy, funny, poignant – but each one proving what vivid associations people have around time in the garden.

EXCITING REDEVELOPMENT AT SQUIRE’S IN WOKING

Squire’s Garden Centres is to create a stunning new garden centre at its Woking site by extending the existing shop and improving the plant area with a new outdoor canopy. There will also be a stylish new Café Bar.

Sarah Squire, Squire’s Deputy Chairman said “We are very excited about our redevelopment plans for Woking. The project has been a long time in gestation and we are so keen to get started. Next spring you will see a centre that has been transformed yet still remains one hundred percent true to our horticultural heritage, retains its sense of place and is sensitive to its location and the surrounding area. There will be an inspirational plant department and a new Café Bar with both indoor and outdoor seating. The indoor space will have a light and airy feel – great for plants and for people. Without giving too much away, we have some really interesting ideas for the look and feel of the interior. We can’t wait to re-open and offer a great range of plants and gardening products to our customers.”

To be able to carry out the works safely Squire’s in Woking will close to the public from 18th June and it will re-open next Spring. Squire’s offered the much-loved donkeys at Woking a new home at another Squire’s centre nearby, but the owner has decided to re-home them locally.

Whilst Squire’s in Woking is closed customers can visit Squire’s in Chertsey, Cobham, Hersham or Badshot Lea.

Three weeks until HTA National Plant Show 2017 opens its doors

With a focus on creating a VIP experience for our visitors this year, you would be foolish to miss out on visiting the HTA National Plant Show 2017, sponsored by Hortipak. Taking place on 20 and 21 June at Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire, this year is sure to be the best one yet, providing a fantastic showcase for UK growers.

We know how hard it is to visit all the stands you want to at a busy exhibition, so we have worked to make a long day on your feet as pleasant as possible. We have worked closely with the venue to enhance the experience our visitors, and this year’s show will include rehydration stations around the halls offering ice cold, lemon and mint infused water, fruit stops where you can grab one of your five a day, and Food on the Go pods where you can pick up a bowl of summery soup and a fresh bread roll. These are all complimentary to our visitors to make the show even more enjoyable.

With this year’s partnership between the Salon du Végétal fair, HTA National Plant Show and HTA Nursery Supply Show, there will also be a much greater European audience this year, with direct and indirect flights between Nantes and Birmingham, and a welcome and lounges specially set up for foreign buyers.

Make sure you download the show app available for downloading from the app stores now (App Store for Apple devices and Google PlayStore for Android devices). Just search ‘HTA Plant Show’.  In the app you can see seminar listings which you can set reminders for so you don’t miss a session, a full exhibitor listing with contact details and links to website, with the ability to highlight any you have seen as a reminder for after the show, as well as speaker and sponsor profiles, notes capacity and much more.

Keep an eye out over the coming weeks when we will be featuring other events taking place at the show. Visitors can save time on arrival to the show by registering for a visitor badge in advance, allowing them to go straight into the show.

For more information and to register in advance please visit www.nationalplantshow.co.uk

REVISITING CHESTNUT TREE HOUSE FOR CHILDREN’S HOSPICE WEEK

Described by The Telegraph as ‘the hospice garden that changes young lives’, the Woodland Walk Gardenat Chestnut Tree House children’s hospice has given seriously ill children from East and West Sussex a truly magical outdoor space to enjoy. The garden was designed by award winning garden designer and Greenfingers Charity Patron, Ann-Marie Powell, on behalf of Greenfingers Charity.

WATCH: Ann-Marie Powell in the Chestnut Tree House Garden for Greenfingers Charity 10 Million Moments Appeal

This once unusable piece of land is now a stunning  woodland area with looping paths and circular decks. Children and their families enter the space through enchanting ‘moon gates’, going on to discover a bug zone, stick walk and teepee. Families can spend precious time together at the natural pond with viewing space, or create memories in the picnic area with special benches to accommodate children in wheel chairs.

As with all Greenfingers Charity gardens, every detail was carefully considered to give children at the hospice a truly magical outdoor experience.

If you would like to support Greenfingers Charity and help to create more magical gardens for children and their families who spend time in  hospices across the UK, please contact us at info@greenfingerscharity.org.uk or visit our Get Involved Page.  To keep up to date with our work, sign up here to receive our Greenfingers Charity newsletter.

Gardman unveils environmentally focused new warehouse facility

The UK’s leading provider of gardening and wild bird care products unveils plans of its new purpose built warehouse which represents a significant investment of over £30m demonstrating the commitment of Gardman and Rutland Partners to further support its growth and the gardening industry.

A key consideration of the project was to reduce the environmental impact of Gardmans UK Operations.  By working with the project partners Winvic and Prologis the new facility has been designed to achieve ‘beyond compliance’ in all areas and has realised significant improvements over Building Regulations in terms of energy efficiency by using the following various methods to reduce not only the environmental impact but also to harness low or zero carbon technologies.

When completed the facility should achieve a BREAAM (Buildings Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) certified “Very Good/Excellent” rating.

Environmental credentials

Reduce inter-site transport – The consolidation of stock to a single site will reduce the inter-site transport, whilst the new central location reduces the transport requirement to our international customer base delivering the benefit of over 20% reduced product miles (approx 382k miles, the equivalent of (1.5 moon trips).

Energy consumption – 34% CO2 improvement and a 29% energy consumption improvement.
Roof lights will be fitted to circa 15% of the warehouse roof area and offices designed to maximise the availability of natural light.
Cladding – High reflectivity (80% rather than normal 70%) liner panels have been installed to reduce the need for lighting.
Brise Soleil – has been fitted to the office elevations to reduce solar gain and improve thermal comfort
LED lighting will be installed throughout the development with movement controls, daylight sensing and dimming to make use of natural light wherever possible.
Rainwater Harvesting – A 10,000 litre system providing water for non-potable use and a mains water leak detection system

Publicly assessable nature Walk – Site plans include a publicly accessible Natural walk area directly adjacent to the site.

Low or zero carbon technologies
Solar panels – 265kWp grid connected photovoltaic (PV) array, which is expected to generate in the region of 230,000 kWhrs of electricity.
Rooftop solar thermal system – provides a renewable source of hot water.
Rain Forest Protection – by investing in protecting 328 acres (75,000 trees) of endangered Amazon rainforest through environmental charity Cool Earth we have also mitigated 110% of the building’s embodied carbon footprint.

B&Q SUPPORTS UK BEES BY ANNOUCING BAN ON GROWERS TREATING ANY FLOWERING PLANTS WITH NEONICOTINOID PESTICIDES

To help support wildlife and address the declining bee population, the UK’s leading home improvement retailer B&Q today announced its flowering plant range, available from February 2018, will be grown free from all neonicotinoid pesticides. The move means the retailer is the first to commit to ensuring no neonicotinoid pesticides are used in the cultivation of flowering plants, particularly pollinators where they present the biggest risk of harm to bees. B&Q previously led the field by removing from sale, ahead of legislation, pesticide products containing the three neonics most associated with bee population decline: imidacloprid, thiacloprid and clothianidin.

“As part of our commitment to supporting Britain’s wildlife, in 2013 we reviewed the use of neonicotinoids in our garden chemical products,” explains Rachel Bradley, B&Q’s Sustainability Manager. “As a result of the findings, and ahead of EU restrictions, we withdrew all pest control products containing the three substances most linked to the decline in bee population.  We are now able to confirm that, to further support pollinators, we are encouraging everyone to do more for wildlife and to that end we will ensure that none of the flowering plants we sell will be grown using any pesticide containing any of the nine neonicotinoids.”

The announcement comes on the launch of a new report from B&Q, ‘The Nature of Gardens’, that examines how gardens can be good for nature and how that can be good for us. Though gardens in the UK are changing, every outdoor space, no matter its size, can deliver benefits for wildlife. The report also examined people’s attitudes towards supporting and engaging with wildlife and the environment, seen through the lens of gardens, with a focus on what prevented Brits from doing more.

The report, written in partnership with Bioregional, a charity and social enterprise which champions sustainable living, found that 67% of people were concerned about wildlife in Britain and 63% believed that there was a benefit to bringing wildlife closer to home. However, one in five people with small gardens admitted they did nothing for wildlife citing time, space, money and lack of knowledge as the biggest barriers.

Great Yellow, Credit Bumblebee Conservation Trust

To show how people can do more to support nature outside their own homes, B&Q created 10 Top Tips to Bring Wildlife Closer to Home – that are specifically tailored for the UK. Designed to be easy, requiring minimum cost, time and space, the tips include advice on taking part in wildlife surveys, creating a bird café, giving wildlife shelter and planting for pollinators, demonstrating that helping local wildlife is far easier, more accessible and rewarding than most realise.

The report also found that scientific evidence confirmed the wellbeing benefits of connecting with wildlife are extensive, from better educational attainment, a better sense of wellbeing and better long-term mental and physical health.

Rachel Bradley, Sustainability Manager at B&Q who spearheaded the report, commented “At B&Q, we’ve been helping people to support wildlife in their gardens for years, through advice and products ranging from pollinator-friendly flowers to pond liners. But until we commissioned this report we didn’t realise quite how important our gardens could be for nature. And while we’ve always known that people love connecting with nature in their gardens, we’ve found overwhelming evidence that garden wildlife and greenery is good for us too. We want to help everyone to do a bit to bring nature closer to home, and to enjoy it more too. That’s the aim of our top tips. It’s easy and affordable, makes a real difference and you don’t even need a garden – you can green up a balcony or a doorstep.”

Nick Schoon, Policy and Communications Manager at Bioregional who wrote the report in partnership with B&Q commented “Our gardens have amazing powers to do good for nature and good for us. There is a wealth of evidence for this out there and now we’ve brought it together to make a really strong case. By looking after wildlife and nature in our gardens, we’re helping to look after ourselves and our planet. The good news is that millions of us are already doing something, and millions more could easily join in.”

‘The Nature of Gardens’ is also supported by RPSB, Butterfly Conservation, Royal Horticultural Society and The Wildlife Trusts.

B&Q’s Top Ten Tips to Bring Nature Closer to Home:

  1. Look out for wildlife & share your discoveries : Becoming a citizen scientist by taking part in wildlife surveys is a great free way to become more aware of what’s already out there. The more you talk about what you are doing, what you have seen and encourage others to join,  in the more fun it becomes.
  2. Pop up a bird café: Offering food and water is the fastest easiest way to attract new visitors to your space.
  3. Plant for pollinators: Nothing says summer like the sound of bees buzzing and the sight of butterflies –fragrant flowers in a pot or a bed are an irresistible addition.
  4. Give wildlife some shelter: A log pile is great for butterflies, bug houses provide homes for mini beasts, a leaf pile for hedgehogs or install a bird or bat box – for best results make sure you are careful with positioning.
  5. Get nature savvy with your shopping: Use fewer garden chemicals.  Look out for pollinator attracting plants and insist on forest friendly wood and peat free composts to help nature near and far.
  6. Just add water: A pond can be any size, even a buried bowl can provide a home for various mini-bugs and insects like damsel flies. Constructing a pond using a preformed shape or flexible liner will give much greater variety. Create shallows so that plant life can flourish and allow wildlife to enter and leave. But don’t have a pond if you have small children around. A bird bath provides water for birds to bathe and drink.
  7. Max out the green: Nurture what trees and shrubs you have and bring more in wherever possible. Nature needs habitats at all levels so trees are fabulous but climbers are super space efficient.
  8. Help wildflowers flourish: Plant a mini meadow in a pot, wildflowers in your borders or just spare a patch of lawn to let the grass and flowers grow long.
  9. Open hedgehog gateways at the bottom of your fence: One of our most loved species, hedgehogs love to roam, but fencing can be a barrier. Creating a gateway either in or below your fence will make life easier for them.
  10. Make your cat safe and seen: The United Kingdom is home to 7.5 million cats. Cats can be a threat to wildlife but a bright collar and bell can reduce risk, as can keeping them indoors from an hour before dusk and an hour after dawn.

Prestigious Medals Announced at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has awarded 73 prestigious RHS Gold Medals at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show, sponsored by M&G Investments.

A total of 117 medals were awarded to the gardens and floral exhibitors in the Great Pavilion, which also included 30 Silver-Gilt Medals, 13 Silver Medals and one Bronze Medal.

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show sponsors’ The M&G Garden was awarded their 6th Gold Medal and scooped Best Show Garden. Showcasing ecological sustainability based on the unique environment of Malta, the garden designed by James Basson also received the coveted Best Construction Award making it the second year running for contractors Crocus.

James Basson, The M&G Garden designer says: “I am absolutely thrilled to have won Best in Show for the first time at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. It is an incredible feeling and a testimony to the hard work of the whole team, including Crocus and my wife Helen, and I am very grateful to M&G for its support.”

Show Garden Judging Panel Chair, James Alexander-Sinclair comments: “The garden is faultless and outstanding in terms of both construction and attention to detail.”

Kate Gould’s City Living garden, representing an urban apartment block and how to innovatively use space in an urban context, won Best Fresh Garden. Meanwhile Best Artisan Garden was awarded to Walker’s Wharf Garden supported by Doncaster Deaf Trust, by designer Graham Bodle.

A total of 61 Gold Medals were awarded to nurseries and growers at the heart of the show in the Great Pavilion, without any Bronze medals in sight. The Diamond Jubilee Award for the best display was presented to Penberth Plants for their ‘A reflection of Penberth – A Cornish Garden’ and New Design Award was given to Raymond Evison Clematis. The South African National Biodiversity Institute – Kirstenbosch stand received the popular President’s Award, while David Austin Roses Ltd, Cayeux Iris and Waterside Nursery were among the Gold Medal winners.

Full List of winners below in pdf format

RHS CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW 2017 ARTISAN GARDEN AWARDS

RHS CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW 2017 DISCOVERY AWARDS

RHS CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW 2017 FLORAL ARRANGEMENT 1 st SESSION AWARDS

RHS CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW 2017 FRESH GARDEN AWARDS

RHS CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW 2017 GREAT PAVILION AWARDS

RHS CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW 2017 PORTFOLIO PHOTOGRAPHY AWARDS

RHS CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW 2017 SHOW GARDEN AWARDS

Hillier Continues Chelsea Winning Streak with 72nd Gold

The most successful exhibitor in the history of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show has continued its winning streak.

Hillier was awarded a gold medal for its ‘Spring’ by Hillier garden, making this the 72ndconsecutive Chelsea Flower Show where Hillier has won gold. This impressive result also means lead designer, Sarah Eberle, remains Chelsea’s most decorated designer with a total of 14 gold medals at the show – this year she celebrates the ‘treble double’; three years in a row of two golds for her gardens.

A beaming George Hillier enthused: “Chelsea is the lifeblood running through Hillier. It plays such a vital role in the business so we are absolutely delighted to have won gold for the 72ndtime in a row! It is absolutely a team effort and I want to extend a huge thanks to every single person involved, from our designers Sarah and Caitlin to everyone that works so hard throughout the whole year to make it all possible.

“Our mission is to inspire the creation of green living spaces for now and the future and, by adding to our legacy, this year’s garden has certainly helped us achieve that.”

Having exhibited plants at Chelsea in some form for over 100 years and having now maintained the record for consecutive gold medals, the Chelsea Flower Show grows more important to Hillier each year. The show is the platform from which the company launches many of its new plant varieties, including two in 2017 that are exclusive to Hillier. Malus x purpurea ‘Crimson Cascade’ is a rather unusual weeping Malus discovered in a garden near York and Corydalis ‘Porcelain Blue’ is a striking true-blue variety with a delightful fragrance and long flowering period.

Another attraction on the stand this year is the ‘Memory Tree’. Visitors are being invited to write down a treasured gardening memory and hang a plant tag on the Davidia involucrata tree, commonly known as the ‘Pocket Handkerchief Tree’, with the first tag having been hung by Alan Titchmarsh on Press Day. The aim is to have thousands of hanging tags by the end of show week.

Notcutts Shows Support For East Anglian Air Ambulance

Staff at Notcutts’ head office in Woodbridge have teamed up to raise hundreds of pounds for East Anglian Air Ambulance, which provides a helicopter emergency medical service (HEMS) for the people of East Anglia.

Money was raised through a series of charity events held at the headquarters of the garden centre group, including raffles, baking competitions, and sample item sales. Members from Notcutts’ sports & social team presented the cheque to East Anglian Air Ambulance at their offices on the 4 May.

Lee Rogers, who works as an IT Systems Assistant at Notcutts, but also acts as a sports & social representative for the company, said: “When we voted on who we wanted to donate the proceeds of our fundraising to, East Anglian Air Ambulance was a unanimous choice. It is an extremely deserving charity and we’re very happy to do our bit to support their lifesaving work in our region.”

Anna Karien-Drost, Fundraising Officer at East Anglian Air Ambulance, said: “We were delighted to receive this generous donation, and would like to thank Notcutts for choosing us as their nominated charity, we are very grateful for their support.”