A Freefolk nursery has received a big departure from the greats in the horticultural world as it pulls out of the Chelsea Flower Show.
Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants announced earlier this year that it will no longer be attending the show once the date is moved from May to September, as there will not be time to grow all the plants needed. Instead, the garden was built in their nursery and opened today (Monday, May 17) under the gaze of celebrities including Gardeners World presenter Adam Frost and BBC Breakfast presenter Mike Bushell.
Rosy Hardy said: “It’s really great to know that so many people have loved our shows over the years and this is our way of saying thank you very much to everyone who came to see our plantation, enjoyed it and maybe even copied which is a great compliment to anyone exhibiting something.
“The garden is a thank you and goodbye to Chelsea, but we will always go to other shows, it’s not us who are retiring, it’s just a farewell to the big show I had a relationship with love-hate over the past 29 years “.
Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants, based on Priory Lane in Freefolk, was founded by Rosy Hardy, who started growing plants in 1988 in her back garden. Since then, she has won 24 RHS gold medals and was hoping for a 25th in 2020 when the Chelsea Flower Show was postponed. Also after the postponement of 2021, she decided to announce her retirement from the series.
Adam Frost said she “has an innate understanding of how to put plants together” and has indirectly taught her many techniques over the years.
He said, âYou are a joy, you are a joy to the industry. I told someone earlier how many times I see Rob [Rosyâs husband] at a show and needs to borrow something he never moans about. Nurserymen tend to whine a bit but he never does.
“For that, and what you have done for the industry, thank you both.”
Since the plants from their last show had already been cultivated, the Hardys decided to build their nursery garden, with audiences invited this month and the following to experience a slice of horticultural expertise on their doorstep. The garden features a wooden structure meant to recall the skeleton of a boat, with visitors being taken to a seating area beyond.
Speaking to the Gazette, Rosy said, âA lot of locals love the idea of ââour garden. They love it to be on their doorstep as many cannot make it to Chelsea for the show. Some have booked twice, so they can come back every now and then in a few weeks to see how it has gone.
All proceeds from the booking fees will be donated to Naomi’s House and Jacksplace, a Sutton Scotney charity that raises funds for children with life-threatening illnesses that threaten lies.
Rosy said: âEver since we moved here in 1991 we have always wanted a local hospice to support and Naomi’s House and Jacksplace was the obvious choice. We normally have open days for them, but last year we had to donate because we couldn’t open.
âNaomi’s house is just a very happy place and we love the story behind it. We have already raised over Â£ 2000 from 650 pre-booked tickets alone.
Although the Hardys have pulled out of the Chelsea Flower Show, they will continue to display in other competitions, while their nursery remains open.