Hampshire Success at Chelsea


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It’s 73 not out for Hillier at Chelsea!
By Kevin Gover – images from Hillier Nurseries

There are a few things that are almost a given at the Chelsea Flower Show… the Queen comes on the Monday, there are film and telly stars galore out in force – and Hillier gets a Gold Medal.

What do you know – they’ve only gone and done it again, their 73rd in a row.


And here’s the splendid exhibit that helped them land that 73rd Gold Medal in a row.


I’ve personally been following the achievements of Hillier at Chelsea since 1989 – wow, that’s 30 years ago and they hadn’t yet even reached the magic 50 at that time! But I distinctly remember being there and being impressed at how they’d cleverly built everything around the monument. (You can just about make out that monument towards the back of the picture below.)

The 2018 exhibit under construction)

We’d like to take some time to show you how the 2018 exhibit looks – and hope that you’re as amazed as us that it looks different from all directions, despite being in a relatively small space in the main pavilion.


As we’ve already mentioned, this year’s exhibit, “Stihl Inspiration”  takes on a more rustic theme than previously featured, with corten steel throughout, and orange and blue flowering plants adding warmth alongside the traditional feature of Hillier’s mature trees.


Normally, unless you are lucky enough to attend the press show – where you are actively encouraged to walk through the show gardens – you may have been slightly disappointed in only trying to be able to see the gardens from behind a cordon, and with four or five people in front of you.

Sarah Eberle is the lead designer for Hillier for the third year running and has put that right. Keen to boost interaction with the exhibit, she has deliberately created a walkway through the garden that will provide opportunities for greater interaction with all elements of the exhibit: “It often feels such a shame that gardens have to be seen from a far. This year we’ve decided to counter that!


“We’ve opened up the garden to allow people to interact with it and take inspiration for every aspect so they can get up close to the planting, see all the intricacies, and smell the flowers! With a love of countryside, and the inspiration that rustic materials brings, this garden aims to excite and inspire visitors as to the possibilities of their own plot”.


The garden is broken down into a number of smaller themed sections where visitors can take direct inspiration for their own gardens.


George Hillier is one of the fifth generation of Hillier family members to be involved in the business and is welcoming the sponsorship from garden tool manufacturer STIHL: “Like Hillier, it is a heritage family owned company, and we share the same core values about inspiring gardeners through innovation.”


The garden also feature a varied selection of the famous Hillier trees, water features and ponds, as well showcasing new and exclusive Hillier plants that have been launched at the show.

Congratulations also to Sparsholt College who’ve won their eighth Gold Medal at Chelsea along with the Best Discovery exhibit award with their ‘Force For Good’ garden.