Suppliers pull out stops for Chelsea

Standard of service emerges as key to winning flower show garden business among top growers.

Top growers supplying gardens at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show have revealed the secrets of their success.

Having the right stock available at the right time has come out top of the list of requirements, with "jumping through hoops" for customers, building up reputation through word of mouth and keeping quality top notch emerging as big reasons for winning business.

Of Chelsea's 17 show gardens, several growers are supplying three or four with plants and trees.

"Chelsea is the one show where you can't get away with second best," said Crocus co-founder Peter Clay. "We have specialist plants that we can supply at the last minute, which smaller growers with less volume can't offer. It's a reputation that we've built up over the past 11 years and we tend to be a dominant force among those who know."

Majestic Trees owner Steve McCurdy added that service was a key factor. "We have the right stock and we offer really good customer service," he said. "We jump through hoops for customers and we have long-term relationships. People take advantage of our planting services and we planted the larger stock at Chelsea this year."

Hardy's Cottage Garden Plants co-owner Rosy Hardy explained that word of mouth was important. "Two of the gardens we're supplying this year we've supplied before, so they've obviously been happy with our service," she said. "We've had about ten gardens wanting us to supply this year and we've turned some away."

She added that the firm had avoided taking orders that were too big or for material it couldn't supply. "We try not to over stretch ourselves and we only offer what we can provide. We don't like to have to outsource."

SHOW COMMISSIONS

Crocus Four show gardens

Orchard Dene Nurseries Four show gardens

Deepdale Trees Four show gardens

Majestic Trees Three show gardens

Howard Nurseries Three show gardens

Hardy's Cottage Garden Plants One show garden and two smaller gardens


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