'Hillier in Springtime' Chelsea garden viable thanks to Hiller's breadth

Hillier, the last garden centre to have its own exhibit at RHS Chelsea Flower Show, has moved places in the pavilion and changed designers after 25 years of gold medal-winning success under Andy McIndoe.

'Hillier in Springtime' design for 2016 RHS Chelsea Flower Show by Sarah Eberle - image: Hillier Nurseries and Garden Centres
'Hillier in Springtime' design for 2016 RHS Chelsea Flower Show by Sarah Eberle - image: Hillier Nurseries and Garden Centres

Sarah Eberle has produced a design alongside the old monument site that is one garden rather than the usual four quarters.

Hillier director Jim Hillier said being a grower and landscaper as well as a garden centre chain made the garden "commercially viable".

He said Bowden Hostas taking over the monument site "took a lot of headaches out" and meant the garden could now be more "whole" and that the monument did not have to be hidden or made into a feature.

Hillier said he thought the garden was "good enough" to deserve a 71st consecutive gold medal. He threatened to jump in the garden's pond if it did.

Hillier thanked suppliers such as Fordingbridge and Kingcombe Aquacare for their help in making the garden.

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

Eberle's theme of ‘Hillier in Springtime’ is a celebration 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, whilst a grey pavilion frames the view over the garden.

Trees up to 7m tall, such as multi-stemmed amelanchier and carpinus, Taxodium distichum, prunus, Cratageus ‘Paul’s Scarlet’ and Pinus nigra, are features of the exhibit.

The 3,000 plants include cornus, Viburnum mariesii, philadelphus and mounds of spiraea as well as perennials and drifts of bulbs. Behind the grey stone gabions of the waterfall is a s bank of  rhododendrons and azaleas.

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