Thompson & Morgan in last minute dash across Europe to secure plants in flower for Chelsea

Digitalis 'Illumination Apricot' breeder, Thompson & Morgan, has stepped in at the last minute to secure stocks of the plant in flower for the Pure Land Foundation Garden in time for the opening of next week's RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

Designer Fernando Gonzalez Garden Design was faced with a significant gap in the garden when UK stocks of Digitalis ‘Illumination Apricot’ failed to flower in time for display.

With just four days to finish before the Queen’s visit to the show, a nationwide hunt for flowering plants threw up no leads.

Mail order seed and plant specialist Thompson & Morgan, stepped in calling on growers across Europe. Plants in perfect bloom were quickly tracked down at the Plantinova nursery outside Barcelona, Spain.

New Product Development Manager, Michael Perry said: "Knowing our ‘Illumination Apricot’ was playing a major part in this cutting-edge show garden, we just had to help out."

At end of play Thursday it called on staff, seeking a volunteer to make the mad-dash 3,000km round trip to get the plants on UK soil in time for Saturday's big garden build.

Up stepped marketing assistant Terri Overett, letting herself in for a 4am start and an 18-hour journey to get the plants to the UK in time. First a plane ride to Barcelona El Prat, a taxi to the nursery an hour east of the city, then back to the airport to face the worry of getting them safely back to the UK in a cold cargo hold.

Colleagues were on hand at the airport to rush the plants into London in time to put finishing touches to the Pure Land Foundation Garden.

At the eleventh hour, German grower Kientzler also stepped in to rush 10 plants by rail and overnight ferry, helping to plug the gaps just in the nick of time.

The design team’s director, Thang Vota said: "Fernando and I are so grateful for all the effort put in by the team – they definitely thought outside the box to help get the plants in place on time.  It was the company’s  Chelsea Flower of the Year Award for Digitalis ‘Illumination Pink’ in 2012, that inspired us to use the new sister line "Illumination Apricot" in our garden.

We can’t wait for Her Royal Highness and the public to see the finished design in its full glory with stunning foxglove as a main focal point of the garden."

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