The Hillier exhibit at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show was a scene of high emotion this week as the news emerged that Hillier had secured their 71st Chelsea Gold medal in row and with it, Hillier's status as Chelsea's most successful exhibitor.
“We are absolutely thrilled that it’s a Gold,” declared Jim Hillier. “Everyone at Hillier has worked so hard for this result over months and months, and we could not be any prouder or more delighted. So many elements were new for us this year – the location, the designer, the design – but it has all come together in spectacular fashion.”
In designing this year’s exhibit for Hillier, Sarah Eberle has officially won Gold in more categories than any other designer in the history of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. She has won Gold for Show gardens, Fresh gardens, Artisan gardens and now with Hillier in the Great Pavilion.
“I am absolutely over the moon – relieved and elated - to have won Gold with my first Chelsea design for Hillier,” said Sarah Eberle who is a former Design Director at Hillier Landscapes. “Hillier have been such a huge part of my life and career that it is totally fitting that I have reached the full set of Chelsea Gold through working with them.”
Chelsea is a huge team effort and remains the highlight of the Hillier for both the family and the staff. Ricky Dorlay coaxed 4000 trees and plants in 500 different varieties to the point of perfection once again, whilst a staging team of specialist build contractors supported the Hillier planting experts in turning Sarah’s design into reality.
In ‘Hillier in spring time’, Sarah has brought together the old and new in a contemporary interpretation of the English landscape gardens of the 18th century.
In the best landscape garden tradition, the garden is an idealised view of nature with romantic building, groves of trees, lake, rock feature cascade and bridge. In Sarah’s contemporary interpretation, water plunges into a central body of water (the lake) from three copper pipes (the cascade) set high in a high grey gabion wall (the rock feature). Boardwalks extend over the pool; a sleek powder-coated steel and iroko wood pavilion frames the view over the garden.
Sarah’s planting is designed to educate and inform, showcasing different plant communities, the plants that grow successfully together and combine beautifully. Hillier favourites such as cornus, philadelphus and viburnum mingle with mounds of spiraea, masses of perennials and drifts of spring-flowering bulbs.
In the glade, behind the grey stone rock wall and water cascade, a vibrant bank of rhododendrons and azaleas light up the shade. Japanese maples appear at the woodland edge with ferns, digitalis, lamprocanthus, helleborus and woodland ground cover. Drifts of perennials that thrive in reasonably moist soil and associate well with water are planted at the edge of the lake such as Iris sibirica, ligularia, hosta, geum and primula.
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