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Chelsea Update August 5th

September Flower Show Update - August 5th

7 Weeks to go!

''It’s been a few weeks since our last update charting the progress of the 6 gardens that we are working with for the first ever Chelsea Flower Show in September. Whilst our team has the collective experience and knowledge of growing for over 80 traditional Chelsea show gardens over the past 22 years, this is our first attempt at growing plants for a Chelsea Flower Show at the end of September…there are no previous autumn Chelsea Shows to draw experience from.''

''The greatest challenges and concerns are that plants look fresh and are still in flower, at a time when most garden plants are starting to shut down for the autumn. Whereas the May Show is mainly about making everything flower earlier than usual, the September Show is all about keeping plants in flower and delaying the onset of autumn senescence. For the May Show we can use warm polytunnels to speed things along, but for the autumn show, there is less scope for manipulating the growing environments, all we can realistically do is provide as much shade as we can to cool plants down, but in the recent heatwave, that was very difficult!''

''So, we have taken a slightly different approach for this autumn Show, whereby we are using our cultural skills to delay the onset of flowering. We waited until early June before any plants were potted on at all. Many late summer and autumn flowering plants start to flower when they become stressed, mainly due to prolonged high temperatures and or dry soil, both of which can happen more quickly with container grown plants.''

''Our plan has been to keep the plants as stress free as possible; every time we trim, we also pot on, and as soon as a plant fills its pot with roots, we pot on. It is a never-ending process, but one which does seem to be paying dividends. We have thousands of lush green plants on the nursery which are still not really showing much sign of flowering. The downside is that everything is in much larger pots than we had expected; 10L instead of 5L, and consequently the nursery is absolutely rammed with plants. We have never been so full in the middle of summer! Matt our Nursery Manager has been busy creating temporary shaded growing areas to accommodate all these large plants, and its still not enough space!''

''Another update next week when it will be just 6 weeks until the Show opens!''

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