RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2014
This was the 12th year that Harrod Horticultural had a stand at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and what a show it ended up being!
The planning starts for Chelsea well over 6 months before the show and this year presented a greater challenge as we had been given a stand location on the prestigious Royal Hospital Way. The new location of the stand required a number of changes to the layout from previous years.
The final design incorporated many of our garden structures including our Roman Lattice Arch, Gothic Arch, Ogee Pergola, Estate Fencing, Obelisks, Raised Beds and also featured our new Harrod Superior Greenhouse.
The design also featured box hedging to create a formal feel to the garden - creating a crossed walkway through the stand. The colour for the stand (which is often the hardest decision to be made) was decided to be blue with all the fencing around the stand to be this colour.
A confirmed design is only the start of the journey though. The team have to then order all the materials to actually make the stand on site - many weeks work is required to get everything ready before they head to the famous Chelsea Showground and begin bringing the concept to life.
All of the products on display on the stand have to then be manufactured. This year we really wanted to showcase our design and manufacturing capabilites and also wanted to show that we can manufacture obelisks and other structures in different colours. This meant a lot of planning ahead to cause as little disruption as possible to the exisitng sprayline schedule.
As well as the stand itself there is all the organisation of manpower required on the stand, trains and hotels to organise, car parking allocation not to mention the important 'refreshments' that will be needed through the show week!
So everything was loaded onto our lorry on Friday May 9th and the team headed off.
How the Chelsea site gets transformed from muddy field to the stunning flower show every year is always astounding. The site is always bustling from dawn to dusk in the build up and our stand was no exception.
This is where the hard work really starts with lots of digging - by the second day 6 tons of builders rubble had been moved!
The Harrod Horticultural stand was really starting to come together and then the heavens opened.
The team had to organise a pump to get some of the water off the stand, but with hard work and perserverance the build continued - the Harrod Horticultural 'Whatever it Takes' attitude was in full effect.
Over the next few days with the rain relenting the build continued in earnest and by the end of the week the stand was almost there.
Some more of the Harrod Horticultural team arrived to help finish the planting and help with the final touches to make sure the stand was in prime condition for the Press Day on Monday.
At the Chelsea Flower show in 2012 we won Product of the Year for our innovative 'Slot & Lock' connectors so decided to enter again in 2014 with our 'Stormproof' Vegetable Cages - another innovation which protects the vegetable cage as the netting will unclip from the cage under very strong winds or snowfall, protecting the cage from damage.
Alex Rocke (New Product Designer) had to present the new 'Stormproof' Vegetable cage to a panel of judges - including Deborah Meaden of Dragon's Den fame - who then deliberated and decided on the winner.
It was late on Sunday when we received the news that we were joint winners of the Chelsea Garden Product of the Year 2014 - winning the accolade twice in 3 years is a real testament to the innovation and quality manufacturing that we have at Harrod Horticultural and all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes to make our innovative product range.
The stand was ready to go and with fingers crossed again we waited to see if we could match other years and receive an award for our stand. The awards had changed slightly this year with a star award being given to the trade stands rather than commendations and merits. We were thrilled to receive a 4 Star Award for the stand - making all the hard work and long hours worthwhile - a great couple of days for Harrod Horticultural!
It continued to be a fantastic week, great to meet so many customers and discuss gardening plans. Many customers commented on how good it was to see the products 'in the flesh' and get an idea of the scale and the quality of the various garden structures.
The weather was also kind - well at least for the majority of the week - only on a couple of occasions did we all have to cram into the greenhouse to shelter from torrential downpours!
A few pictures from the week - a superb effort by all the team and already planning and looking forward to 2015!