Highlights from RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2014
22 May 2014
The RHS Chelsea Flower Show is a highlight in the horticultural calendar. Held in spring each year at the Royal Hospital Chelsea in London UK, the show attracts thousands of visitors from around the world. On display are the meticulously designed Show Gardens, the Fresh Gardens showcasing innovative ideas and challenging traditional design, and the Artisan Gardens that make artistic use of unusual materials. The Great Pavilion is stacked full of displays, including candidates for RHS Plant of the Year.
BGCI shares some of our highlights from RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2014......
Oak Processionary Moth Garden
The City of London Corporation
This Fresh Garden is designed by Helen Elks-Smith, built by Wycliffe Landscapes and Sponsored by City of London Corporation. The garden highlights the arrival of the Oak Processionary Moth (Thaumetopoea processionea / OPM) in the UK. Native to southern Europe, where environmental conditions and predators keep its impact in check, this moth is becoming established further north and presents a threat to the health of UK’s well-loved oak trees. Caterpillars feed on the leaves, can strip whole trees, and increase vulnerability of oaks to other pests and diseases as well as adverse natural events. The caterpillars also have thousands of tiny hairs which can cause skin rashes and sore throats, breathing difficulties and eye problems if people come in contact with the caterpillar or if the hairs are carried by wind. Current spread in the UK is limited to London and Berkshire. Damage caused by OPM can be limited by experts, through controlled spraying or by destroying nests, but awareness of the problem and early detection are key to success.
Within the garden, oak trees are wrapped in textiles to represent the white silken nests woven by the Oak Processionary Moth. This visually striking display draws the visitors to question and the OPM garden team are constantly talking to interested Chelsea-goers about the threat posed by this pest. The spread of this pest can also be limited by interplanting with non host plants, such as hornbeam, which were planted in columns within the garden to highlight the need for such barriers, and gaps were left between the hornbeams to highlight the risk of gaps in knowledge and management.
This garden offers an eye-catching display whilst educating audiences and highlighting a pressing issue threatening South West London’s oaks.
FERA also has a garden in the Great Pavilion at RHS Chelsea Flower Show, highlighting the risk of introducing pests and diseases through international plant trade.
Celebrating sustainability through inspired design in Harmony with Nature
Kirstenbosch Botanic Garden, SANBI, South Africa
Silver Gilt Award
Kirstenbosch has exhibited at RHS Chelsea Flower Show for 21 years and received a Silver Gilt medal for their display this year in the Great Pavilion. The inspiration for this year’s display comes from nature, drawing on the rich biodiversity of South Africa, three habitat types; forest, savanna and fynbos, and highlighting the value of the ecosystem services these habitats provide. The display also pays tribute to Nelson Mandela, with a mural constructed from the hard bases of Protea flowers, and the planting schemes feature cultivars of Protea cynaroides and Strelizia reginae named in honour of Nelson Mandela.
Hillier at 150
Hillier Garden Centres & Nurseries
Hillier Nurseries is the most successful exhibitor in the history of RHS Chelsea Flower Show, and added another Gold to their collection this year, celebrating the 150th anniversary of Hillier Nursery with a marvellous display. Also located in the Great Pavilion, this garden exhibit is packed full of Rhododendrons and Azaleas that are ablaze in the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens at ‘Chelsea time’ each year. The display celebrates 150 years of Hillier with 150 tree silhouettes cut from aluminium, copper and stainless steel, placed on oak plinths rising out of the dense cover of foliage and flowers.
Plant of the Year 2014
Hydrangea macrophylla 'Miss Saori'. Bred in Kyoto by Ryogi Irie.
The genus Hydrangea has more than 1,000 cultivars and hybrids and has been a very popular ornamental plant group for centuries. Selection of this striking Hydrangea as RHS Plant of the Year 2014 presents an opportunity to highlight that many Hydrangea species are facing threats in the wild. BGCI is working with experts from the University of Ghent Botanic Garden (Belgium) and the Instituto de Ecologia, A.C. (Mexico) to assess the conservation status of Hydrangea species and develop and action plan for conservation of priority species. Find out more about this project.
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