A Cotswold nursery bags three awards at RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Julia and Adam Mitchell of Green Jjam

Julia and Adam Mitchell of Green Jjam - Credit: Mandy Bradshaw

Cotswold Life's Mandy Bradshaw reports live from the 2021 RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Cotswold nursery Green Jjam has pulled off a golden hat-trick with a top medal for their first RHS Chelsea Flower Show display. 

The penstemon specialists from Upton-upon-Severn added a gold medal to those won at RHS Hampton Court and RHS Tatton earlier this year. 

‘It’s fantastic,’ said Julia Mitchell, who runs the nursery with her husband, Adam. ‘We’ve had one gold previously in 2015 so getting three with three very different stands at three very different shows during the last year we’ve had, has just been phenomenal.’ 

She added that being at Chelsea was ‘exciting and scary all at the same time.’ 

As well as being at Chelsea this week, the nursery is also at the Malvern Autumn Show this weekend. 

Designer Alan Williams, who’s based at Birlingham, near Pershore, won a silver for The Parsley Box garden, his first solo design and his Chelsea debut. 

Alan Williams on the Parsley Box garden

Alan Williams on the Parsley Box garden - Credit: Mandy Bradshaw

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‘This whole experience feels like a ‘pinch-me’ moment,’ said Alan, who has previously won Best in Show and gold for a garden designed with Ruth Gwynn for the RHS Malvern Spring Festival. 

‘It’s been a joy bringing the wonderful vision behind the garden to life over the past few weeks,’ he added. 

‘It’s been absolutely amazing and I haven’t stopped smiling from ear to ear.’ 

The Fairford Flower Collective also won silver for their floral window in the Great Pavilion. 

Fi Passey and Tessa Wardman of Fairford Flower Collective

Fi Passey and Tessa Wardman of Fairford Flower Collective - Credit: Mandy Bradshaw

The cut flower growers chose British Blooms as their theme and used their own flowers in a display to highlight the environmental cost of imported flowers. 

Ruth Robinson, of The Cotswold Garden, put the exhibit together with the rest of the collective – Fi Passey, of Corky and Prince, Tessa Wardman, of Iris and Wilf, and Beth Bruce-Gardner, of Honeymoon Fern.  

‘We’re all totally ecstatic,’ said Ruth, ‘and so proud that we’ve brought Cotswold-grown flowers to Chelsea. 

‘It’s about looking after our environment and seeing the beauty in what is around you rather than looking further afield.’ 

Olive tree specialists Villaggio Verde, regular gold medal winners at the RHS Malvern Spring Festival, and aster specialist nursery The Picton Garden* were also making their RHS Chelsea debuts. 

Jason Hale, of Worcestershire’s Villaggio Verde, created an Italian-style piazza at the heart of the Great Pavilion with olive trees, cannas and vibrant planting. 

The Villaggio Verde installation

The Villaggio Verde installation - Credit: Mandy Bradshaw

It’s a style that he’s known for in his Malvern show gardens: ‘It’s very much our signature and a lot of people have said ‘this looks Villaggio’. 

‘It’s my first time at Chelsea and it’s been fantastic. I was nervous about coming but it’s been amazing.’ 

Nurseries have created barrow displays around the Villaggio installation, including one of asters by The Picton Garden. 

The Picton Garden display

The Picton Garden display - Credit: Mandy Bradshaw

It’s the first time RHS Chelsea has been held in September, a move that came when the usual May show was cancelled. 

Cotswold designer Paul Hervey-Brookes, from Tetbury, has created an installation showing the best plants for combating pollution, mentored the new Container Garden section and judged the Sanctuary Gardens. 

He welcomed the change in date: ‘I actually think a September show every once in a while would be really good because it reinvigorates how people engage with gardens. 

‘There’s a real issue in that people think gardening stops in July or August. So, if we had this once every three or five years, people would see late season as a period to be celebrated on a big scale.’ 

*The Picton Garden is featured in the September 2021 issue of Cotswold Life magazine.

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show runs until September 26.

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