Chelsea Flower Show 2016

2015 was an extremely tough year for growing delphiniums in time for the Chelsea Flower Show.  Blackmore and Langdon felt it was the hardest they could remember.

In fact, it was so hard that this particular grower had only one or two florets open for judging.  Luckily, the judges showed some mercy and gave us a 4 star award.  This was something beyond our wildest dreams.  Can we get a 5 star award in 2016 – time will tell.


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Chelsea Flower Show 2014

Hi everyone, pleased to say that we have now finished building the stand for 2014.

As ever, very many thanks to everyone helped especially Jackie Jack for tidying up the plants and helping build the stand and also to Joan Taylor of for supplying many of the supporting cast of plants.  Most of all of course, many thanks to my wife!

I’ll write some more when time permits

In the meantime, enjoy the Chelsea coverage on TV

All the best. Mark.



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Mmmmm Flowers there are!!!

Well, what a difference a few days make!  Or as Yoda might say ” A few days and a difference there is!”

I’ve now taken 17 plants out of the greenhouse and placed them in sheltered spots around the garden – to, believe it or not, slow them down a touch.  Unlike most exhibitors we need the delphs to peak during the latter half of Chelsea week, when Society seed sales peak.  And, with the weather forecast in mind, slow them down we will!

Here’s a view of the most advanced plants with a few florets open.


We then have half a dozen just thinking about opening – they’re by the greenhouse door – some shade and protection from the wind.  one or two of these plants have been grown outside only since the end of February when they were already two feet tall.

There are another half a dozen still in the greenhouse that may well make it to the show – fingers crossed!

Here’s a picture of some of the support plants – a good group of Astrantia ‘Buckland’







And the aquilegia – I’m having to dead head these just as the flowers open to make sure they’ve still got flowers in a week’s time


Lastly – couldn’t resist a pic of ‘Kestrel’ – one of my favourite delphs for sure.

Cheers, Mark.




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10 days and counting

It doesn’t seem a year since we were last frantically getting ready for Chelsea – but it is.

It’s also doesn’t seem a year or so since all the the stress of will we have plants in time and so on – but it is.

Last year was noted for its very cold spring and a struggle to get plants flowering in time.  This year is different again – most people are talking about how early everything is.  But I’m still concerned as to whether our plants will be ready in time.  In spite of evicting the most advanced 4 plants from the greenhouse in the middle of February, the others have been slow to catch.  This year, I’ve barely had to shut the greenhouse doors at night – last year I ran up a hideous electricity bill with heaters running in both houses at night!


Last Friday I took this picture –


Just this lunchtime the same view looks somewhat different – just as well really!


We also have the supporting cast of plants getting ready too.  Last May I sowed a large batch of aquilegia seed – hopefully a good few of these will make it onto the stand –


Fingers crossed for some flowers soon!

All the best, Mark.


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They’re all in!

It’s been a busy couple of weeks since the last post with two further batches of plants going into the greenhouse.

The final batch were those recognised as early flowering cultivars such as ‘Spindrift’, ‘Gossamer’ and ‘Kestrel’.  I left these til last as I just sense an earlier season this year – sorry, aside from spreading my bets with a mix of cultivars, that’s about the science of it.  At least for now. 

I’ve also finished cleaning the inside of the greenhouse and some of the outside.  Next up will be cleaning the plants up, moving some into slightly larger pots and placing them in their saucers.Sunday 12th Jan saw us having a family trip down the beach – and sitting outside, in the sun, at 4PM for a cup of tea.  Maybe that’s why I think it will be an earlier season!


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Chelsea starts here

Well, with New Year out the way it’s time to start thinking Chelsea.  Well, a lot more than thinking, it’s time to start doing.

So, last weekend whilst the wind blew a gale and the rain came down all but horizontally, it was time to start cleaning – and people talk about the glamour of Chelsea.

I can’t see much glamour in here!









Nearly there with the cleaning – just one side to do inside and then all of the outside.  Maximum light will be essential to the delphs in the early months of the year.

It was also time to bring a few plants in – 42 to be precise. I decided to bring in some of the mid to late season cultivars first of all.  Next weekend I will bring in some of the known earlier flowerers such as ‘Rona’, ‘Gossamer’ and ‘Spindrift’.  Looking around the garden there’s another 70 or so to choose from to get a variety of cultivars and sizes.  It was too late to start cleaning them up but as luck would have it they weren’t too weedy.









Here’s to next weekend with the equally glamorous job of weeding and pot cleaning.  But perhaps a few seeds might also go in…

Best wishes, Mark.


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The Party’s Over – for now!

Hi, hope you’re all enjoying this nice weather?  Our garden certainly is with everything growing apace to make up for such a cold spring and early summer.

Well, the Chelsea Flower Show now seems about a light year ago and I have to say the post show blues kicked in pretty much as soon as the stand had been taken apart.  It was bad enough taking apart our ‘creation’ and selling off many of the supporting plants – still, there’s always next year to look forward to.  Ahhh, then of course there is the Romsey Show in September where Anne and I have decided to build a small garden stand with a mixed planting of all things autumnal.  With any luck there will be a good number of second flowering delphiniums to put on show.

An added bonus from Chelsea is that those plants that were not ready in time are in the greenhouse and just begging to be hybridised – you can probably see some missing eyes if you look carefully in the photo.  Next time I’ll give you an update on the Romsey show prep.All the best, Mark.


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