Designers feel the strain of preparing for Chelsea show

Unusual weather creating planning headaches.

Chelsea garden designers are feeling the strain as unseasonal weather conditions continue to make the RHS show tough to prepare for. Kent-based Lloyds TSB Chelsea garden designer Trevor Tooth said that plants had been flowering too early. “Plants are doing things that I don’t want them to. We’ve got a lot of plants that have started to flower; we’ve got to get them in the shade and slow them down — it has been very difficult.” He added: “Traditional plants are starting to bud-up too quickly. It’s never been like this before. You’re normally forcing things on for Chelsea but this year we’re holding things back because they’ve started flowering too early.” Wyevale East and Hawkesmill are suppliers. First-time Chelsea designer Michael Vout, who is designing a Thomas Telford 250th anniversary garden for Telford & Wrekin Council, said: “It was going great until the past few weeks. It’s been very hot and things are manic. Flowering times have gone haywire. Some are flowering too early and some too late. Some plants are touch-and-go whether they’ll make it. “Hawthorn is part of the design but around here it’s at its peak now, in full bloom. One supplier, Dingle Nurseries in Welshpool, said plants were flowering at least a month ahead of five years ago.” Designer Jinny Blom said early-flowering umbellifer was proving “an absolute catastrophe”. David Root of Blom’s grower Kelways said: “Things are a nightmare at the moment.” Society of Garden Designers chairman Peter Thomas said: “It is extremely challenging because a lot of plants have flowered a month earlier than we are accustomed to.”

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