Chelsea exhibit preparations

The exhibit for this years centennial Chelsea Flower Show will show the evolution of the lawn and contain three types of lawn grown specially for the exhibit here at Reading.

The plan is for a pure grass lawn, one devoid of anything but grass – the type that ‘Keep off the Grass’ signs are made for. There will also be a ‘natural’ or ‘freedom’ lawn and three combined grass-free flower lawns.

The ‘natural’ lawn was sown last year to encourage the authentic thatch that grass lawns accumulate over winter and it will contain some of the forb species traditionally found in lightly managed British lawns such as English daisies, buttercup and dandelion. The flower lawns will be composed of eighty five species and cultivars of plants that shown the potential to withstand the demands of the flower lawn environment.

Growing the Chelsea exhibit lawns.

Growing the Chelsea exhibit lawns.

You may notice that even now the exhibit flower lawns are – full of flowers. This is no accident. In an effort to reproduce a potential format for a real life flower lawn I decided to do what I expect most gardeners will do, and add early flowering winter/springĀ  bulbs. The result is a great splash of colour and it is already attracting early pollinators.

The bulb leaves will fade away or get snipped by a blade before showing at Chelsea. Even though the bulb flowers won’t be seen at the show, their addition to the display lawns keeps the design and planting true to the concept by using clonal perennials and extending the floral period. I don’t know yet of any other display at Chelsea that has hidden components!

The exhibit flower lawns are currently buzzing and attracting visitors…

Honey hunting

Honey hunting

Bumbling on an exhibit crocus

Bumbling on an exhibit crocus

Peacock (Inachis io) on the glasshouse window.

Peacock (Inachis io) on the glasshouse window.

There have been a fair few house flies joining the bees and butterfly, but somehow my finger just wouldn’t press the camera button. Maybe next time…

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