From cottage garden favourites to out-of-this-world tropical treasures, the Great Pavilion was the floral heart of the show. See our selection of highlights
Primrose Hall Nursery at stand 192 provided a multi-sensory treat; a profusion of red, white and pink double peonies and a heavenly perfume that filled the air. Experienced and first-time gardeners enjoyed these extravagant but low-maintenance flowers and Primrose Hall Nursery’s stand demonstrated the perks of growing these exquisite flowers perfectly.
If you couldn't get to Chelsea Flower Show this year, don't worry - you can still experience the thrill of the Great Pavilion with our virtual tour
At stand 178, Raymond J Evision Ltd used a uniquely imaginative and contemporary method to display their award-winning clematis that highlights the beauty of these plants in a very natural way. Designed to look as though the clematis were floating on rolling waves, the exhibit allowed show visitors to walk between the waves and see these plants in closer detail. Climbers like clematis have always been popular due to their space-saving habit of growing up rather than out, so make a good choice for those with smaller plots.
Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants’ brightly planted exhibit at stand 163 displayed a variety of garden plants and features. With the added interest of being walk-through, show visitors could examine the plants from various angles. Hardy’s specialise in cottage garden perennials and grow their plants in a traditional way to ensure their resilience. Any show visitors that hoped to incorporate the cottage style in their own garden were able to visit this stand for inspiration.
The large, walk-through stand of Penberth Plants, southern hemisphere evergreen shrub specialists based in West Cornwall won the Diamond Jubilee Award for best Floral Marquee Exhibit. Visitors sought the blue, pea-like flowers of a little-grown, compact but supremely dainty lupin species, Lupinus lepidus. Variously called Pacific, prairie or dwarf lupine, it is endemic to western North America and reaches only 60cm (2ft). Penberth Plants are also RHS Master Growers for the 2017 Hampton Court Palace Flower Show.
At stand 212, Every Picture Tells a Story impressed with their large collection of bromeliads, tillandsias and other tropical houseplants. Their colourful display of these unusual plants evoked a tropical rainforest, with something to marvel at from every angle. Air plants in particular were useful houseplants for those who have limited space to view as they do not require soil and can be mounted and displayed from a wide range of surfaces.
Regular but infrequent visitors to Chelsea, the Eric Young Orchid Foundation is based on the Channel Island of Jersey. The charitable body is charged simply with breeding the best possible new orchid hybrids. This section showcased Odontoglossum or butterfly orchids and their hybrids, relatively cool-growing tropical orchids from the Andes, in moody reds and purples. Gold.
British Ecological Society’s ‘Delight in the Dark’ garden at stand 230 stood out in the Discovery zone for its fantastic planting against an urban backdrop. As shady gardens and outdoor areas become an increasing challenge to urban gardeners, the garden aimed to demonstrate the wide range of shade-tolerant plants available to green up these areas.
Taking flower arrangng to new heights, literally, within the Great Pavilion, whole walls of vibrantly-coloured blooms, around a more pastel, blue-themed ‘fountain’ spilled into an all-flower ‘pool’, with a distinctly Mediterranean feel made up the sumptuous Marks and Spencer display. It took a well-deserved Gold medal.
Bulb specialist Jacques Amand International’s huge stand included a selection of mouth-watering terrestrial orchids (these grow in the ground, rather than epiphytically – attached to trees and shrubs), many of them hardy. Amid Asian Calanthe and British native military orchid were swathes of Cypripedium (slipper orchid) hybrids. These are proving much more amenable to cultivation and are more vigorous than their species parents, and deserve to be more widely grown. Gold.
Plantagogo specialise in Heuchera, Tiarella and their bigeneric hybrids X Heucherella. Increasingly popular foliage plants in a huge range of leaf colours, for their Chelsea display the nursery chose to focus on their Plant Heritage National Plant Collections in an informatve and educational display.