Hillier returns to Chelsea with a new look

Hillier Nurseries and Garden Centres, for the first time in more than 20 years and only the third or fourth time since its 70-year gold medal-winning run began, will be on a new site at Chelsea Flower Show.

Sarah Eberle, former Hillier Landscapes design director, will design the garden in the Great Pavilion, taking over from Andy McIndoe, who has designed for the last 25 years.

The 21m x 12m site is closer to the Royal Hospital and off the Chilianwalla Monument site, where Bowdens Hostas will take over.

Eberle has won gold in every garden category at Chelsea and will also design for Viking Cruises at the event. She has never before exhibited in the Great Pavilion.

She said: "I feel honoured to have been asked to design the Hillier exhibit. I have a long history with Hillier.

"The Hillier Manual was the bible when I was training as a landscape architect, and I have known the family and the nursery team at Hillier for a long time."

She said the Hillier legacy "certainly focuses the mind and it makes me work harder and


Among the staging team this year will be George and Jim Hillier from the fifth generation of the Hillier family and the new Hillier management trainees backed by Hillier Chelsea veterans, Ricky Dorlay and John Hillier VMH.

The design, Hillier in the Springtime, by Eberle, is a departure from the traditional

Hillier woodland exhibits of the past.

The "show garden for plant lovers" for has taken the best Hillier shrubs and trees with its usual focus on plant quality in a presentation of spring-flowering trees and plants.

Water cascades into a central body of water from three copper pipes set into a high grey gabion wall.

Boardwalks on two sides extend over the pool, while a grey pavilion frames the view over the garden.

Among 3,000 plants will be trees up to 7m tall include amelanchier and carpinus, Taxodium distichum, prunus,

Cratageus ‘Paul’s Scarlet’ and Pinus nigra.plant

Flowering shrubs such as cornus, Viburnum mariesii, philadelphus and mounds of spiraea as well as masses of perennials and drifts of bulbs.

There will also be gabions, rhododendrons and azeleas.

New plants include: Acer Moonrise’: a scorch resistant acer and Lavendula

Silver Line’: a white lavender in aid of the charity ‘The Silver Line’, helpline launched by Esther Rantzen.

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