The launch of the 'Stihl Hillier Garden' exhibit for RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019

Regular readers may recall that last year I was invited to the launch of the Hillier exhibit for the Floral Marquee at RHS Chelsea Flower Show and I had the most wonderful day learning about the exhibit and finishing off with a wander around the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens.  So you can imagine how pleased I was to be invited to attend the launch of this years exhibit, the 'Stihl Hillier Garden'.

This garden is the second one that Hillier and Stihl have worked on together and they are hoping it will gain Hillier their 74th consecutive Chelsea gold medal.  This consecutive run makes them record holders and it is not an exaggeration when they say they are the most successful exhibitor in the history of the show.  This year the exhibit is being designed by Lily Gomm, who is being mentored by Sarah Eberle.  Lilly has a background in architecture and has designed medal-winning gardens at previous RHS shows.  The garden aims to blend contemporary and traditional themes and will include some stunning water features.  We were shown pictures of the curtains of water that are being included in the design and I cannot wait to see what they look like in situ.  The planting in the garden is colour themed and the colours will transition around the exhibit.  I predict walking around the exhibit several times......

Hilliers is comprised of a twelve garden centres, 100 acre wholesale nursery and 700 acres of tree nursery.  A key part of going to Chelsea is showing their products and introducing new plants.
This is Cordyline 'Pink Star' (photo c/o Hilliers).  It is good for containers and hardy to around -5.  It is a great pink colour and keeps its colour in the sun.
Next up is Isoplexis isabelliana 'Bella' (photo c/o Hilliers).  It is tall but also compact  and hardy down to around -8.  This plant is exclusive to Hilliers and apparently bees love it. I love the colour and cannot wait to see this.
Finally is Weigela picobella 'Rosa', which is also exclusive to Hilliers (photo c/o Hilliers).  It is compact and bushy and forms a nice dome shape.  It is very long flowering and also has good autumn colour.  It is very hardy and again, bees love it.  This is now very much on my list of plants to look out for.  We had a bit of a discussion about shrubs becoming more popular again and how they make such magnificent structure for the garden.  I look out into my garden and realise that more shrubs have crept into my borders almost without me noticing.  The right shrub in the right place adds great value.
The visit ended with a trip to one of the nurseries to look at the plants being got ready for Chelsea.  Seeing these huge trees waiting to be loaded onto lorries for their journey was very exciting.  It is a very organised operation to put the exhibit together, the big trees go in first, then the next level and then the smallest.  It all have to be carefully choreographed or they will all be planting on top of each other.
The glasshouses are huge.
and it was noticeable that recyclable taupe pots were very much in evidence.
The sun shone on the plants for most of the visit, but as we left it started to snow and hail, such is spring.
We were given a 'goody bag' as we left which included a very nice pair of Stihl secateurs that are now in use in the garden and this Eryngium 'New Wave', which was one of the plants introduced by Hilliers at last year's Chelsea Flower Show.  I was really pleased to receive this and it is now planted in the garden.
A big thank you to Hilliers, Stihl and Paskett PR for a lovely day; I wish Hilliers every luck in hope of their 74th gold medal.