Flower show nurseries are gearing up for the exhibition season with new varieties and collaborations.
Hardy's Cottage Garden Plants is among those battling the weather ahead of the flower show season. It will provide plants for several show gardens, as well as its own 10x10m exhibit, which will feature a walk-through path, a water feature and a metal swing seat.
New varieties include Osteospermum 'In The Pink', with 20p from every plant sold donated to Breast Cancer Care. Also new is Leucanthemum 'Freak!'. Gaura lindheimeri 'Ruby Ruby' and Digitalis 'Suttons Apricot' are also featured.
Meanwhile, another high-profile Chelsea grower, Kelways owner Dave Root, is growing for a record 11 Chelsea gardens this year with new additions including Patricia Fox's modern roof garden, James Basson's Pudding Garden and Hartley Botanic Conservatories.
Root said equisetum, tree ferns, peonies and irises would be "highly visible" at this year's show. He is working with Mark Straver from Hortus Loci and designers such as Andy Sturgeon to find new specimens.
Root said growing for landscape architects and garden designers is becoming increasingly important for Kelways, but the core business remains show circuit peonies and irises, with 300 peonies, 250 tree peonies and 500 irises on his stand at Chelsea. Peony 'Salmon Dream', Peony 'Many Happy Returns' and Peony 'Chocolate Soldier' will showcase at Chelsea.
The display will feature a contemporary low-rendered wall that will zigzag across the 4.5x8m exhibit, dividing it into several colour-themed planting areas and making it easier for visitors to select their plants.
Flower Power Fairs - Extra venue on list of small plant fairs aimed at grower exhibitors
5 May: Lowther Castle & Gardens
7 May: Abbeywood Gardens, Delamere, Cheshire
13 May: Sandon Hall, Staffordshire
20 May: Doddington Hall, Lincoln
27 May: Combermere Abbey, Whitchurch, Shropshire
3 June: Thornton Hall Gardens, Darlington, Teesside
23 June: BJ Nurseries & Garden, Sykehouse, East Yorkshire
1 July: Ness Hall, North Yorkshire
8 July: Lytham Hall, Lancashire
22 July: Osmaston Park, Ashbourne, Derbyshire
27 August: Newburgh Priory, Coxwold, North Yorkshire
23 September: Sutton Park, Sutton on the Forest, York
Aztec Garden Shows
5-7 May: Southend Spring Show
11-13 May: Norfolk Spring Show
18-20 May: Essex Garden Show
25-27 May: Cambridgeshire Show
8-10 June: South East Essex Show
15-17 June: Oxfordshire Show