Great Pavilion exhibits impress despite difficult weather

Exhibitors in the Great Pavilion at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show have said it turned out to be exciting and colourful despite growers struggling with difficult weather conditions.

Cold weather running up to the show held plants back by up to six weeks compared with two years ago, raising fears that plants would not be ready for displays.

Kelways managing director Dave Root said the nursery successfully supplied plants to 11 designers despite the weather. "We are three hours away from London so it is a massive logistic exercise, but it does give us a good climatic advantage.

"We've managed foxgloves where others have failed. The weather has been crap, but it has been consistently crap and the plants have grown consistently. There is a spring-like feel to this year's show which has made it fresh and exciting."

Hardy's Cottage Garden Plants director Rob Hardy agreed that the show turned out well. "What we had has gone on the stand and everything else people don't see," he said. "There is plenty of colour in the floral marquee."

Hillier Nurseries managing director Andy McIndoe said: "One advantage is that we haven't had to cold store stuff. The trees we picked a week before the show. You can see in other gardens that some have struggled because a lot of trees aren't in leaf yet.

"We were worrying three weeks ago because the roses didn't look like they'd make it, and the same with the rhododendrons. But it all came through. We haven't got the facilities to warm things. We can't afford to have that just for a potential cold snap at Chelsea time."

He added: "If the weather stays cool but fine it will be a good Chelsea. Stuff holds up. It's a struggle to keep it going until Saturday. A lot of people can only come on that day so it's important."

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