Chelsea Fever as Plant Suppliers struggle to meet demand

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Allium flowering at the perfect time, especially for Chelsea Flowe Show.

Imagine it your creating a magnificent display at Chelsea all the planning, the preparation and design have taken years of hard work. You rely on a team of experts to build, construct and grow your chosen masterpiece and disaster your plants are not meeting the required standards and you need to source from elsewhere!

chelsea flower show

Late April through to the end of June remains to be one of the busiest periods for gardeners, designers and plant suppliers throughout the UK and to some extent Europe. As garden designers panic buy to ensure they have sufficient plants not only for their chosen display at Chelsea, Hampton court or many of the other famous garden events held in the UK.

chelsea show flowers

So when it comes to buying plants for your own garden or landscape design if you want to avoid this Chelsea fever then may I suggest you prepare well in advance even consider an Autumn planting of your favourite perennials and hardy shrubs rather than risk losing out to some of the big names in garden design.


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When you take into account that many of us plant in five’s and seven’s to get a nice representation of our chosen flowering perennial in our own gardens, compared to that of the Garden designer who is likely to order 50 or more of their preferred variety to ensure mass planting and that only the plants in optimum condition are selected.

chelsea show flowers1


Many garden plant growers experience such a panic buying that they even restrict the sales requiring up to six weeks notice for orders, simply to retain stock and avoid selling out of precious stock.

Smart garden designers employee the services of a plant location expert, often too busy themselves to waste time tracking down trees and shrubs for their designs. Instead, they rely on a plant expert to travel the length and breast of the UK, sourcing specialist plant growers for the perfect plants long before they are made available to large garden centre chains or retailers.

chelsea show flowers3

It’s hardly surprising that Chelsea fever hits the industry hard when you take into account how many plants are grown for each display and with tens of hundreds of contributors eagerly to sell you their latest product, service or time.

Gardening is a huge industry in the UK and timing is an essential part of managing not only a world class display but also managing the humble garden plot of our very own! These Gold Chelsea winning gardens may look like something you would want to take home and believe be that is exactly what some people do! (Buy a Chelsea garden and have it shipped lock stock and barrel to their own merger garden plot.) In reality, a garden takes years to create, master, manage and perfect! You need to live it feel it allow you time to grow along with your favourite plant, trees and shrubs, experience the seasons and feel the joy and sadness of success and failure.


Measuring a garden on Gold, maybe a pat on the back for many a supplier, grower and garden designer but let’s not believe that this is the measure of a great gardener!

History shows us what makes a great gardener, not the TV nor the presenters that flood in to tell us all about the latest gardening fads. That said I personally Love Chelsea! I love what it does for the industry, the hustle the bustle, the Love for gardening but at the end of the day when you turn off the camera, dismantle the displays and return to your own back yard or garden. That’s where everything you’ve since learnt absorbed from your latest gardening adventure can and should be put into action.


Get gardening today, plant a basket pull some weeds and by all means visit Chelsea but remember to see a garden reach any form of maturity takes a minimum of 5-10 years and not 5-10 weeks as some would have you believe.

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About Head Gardener 291 Articles
Award winning, 40 something year old professional plantsman and horticulturalist with National Trust, private parks and estate management background. My vast plant knowledge and hands on techinical experience, afforded me the opportunity to work in various horticultural landscapes, in the UK, USA & Eastern Europe. Having worked in both garden retail & the design service industry gave me the practical diversity and managerial skill set, required for running a large prestigious gardens and stately homes. I strongly believe knowledge is to be shared and have worked closely with people and staff of all ages and abilities keen to develop their passion for gardening, including groups of children, special needs and adults. I have hosted guided walks, talks and tours for those keen to learn about cultivated and wild plants, garden development, history and design. As an member of the NNCPG and National Trust, I am actively involved in the preservation of several important plant collections both in public and private gardens throughout the UK. “It’s a beautiful thing when a career and a passion grow together, in a garden it’s paradise” Follow @IGrowHort on GardenTags. Stephen is passionate about gardening as Head Gardener with a team of ten staff he manages a prestigious Cheshire country estate of 55 acres, inc wild flower meadows, woodland, organic kitchen and formal gardens. Follow Stephen today”

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