Specialist plant and tree nursery Hortus Loci are no stranger to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and 2018 looks like being their busiest to date. Hortus Loci is the brain child of horticultural heavyweights Mark Straver and Robin Wallis, who between them have over 50 years experience working in UK horticulture and both of whom are 3rd generation nurserymen.
Hortus Loci is a totally unique place for professional gardeners, landscapers, designers and their clients. The top 30 European landscape architects regularly use the nursery which is rapidly edging towards having the largest available range of trees, perennials, shrubs and plants, most of which is grown on their 17 acre site in Hampshire, and the remainder is sourced across the best growers in the UK and Europe.
The 2018 Line up looks like this:
Main Show Gardens
Lemon Tree Trust Garden by Tom Massey, Wedgwood Garden by Jo Thompson, VTB Capital Garden by Stuart Towner, Welcome to Yorkshire Garden by Mark Gregory, The RHS Garden by Matthew Keightley, plus part supply for the Morgan Stanley Garden by Chris Beardshaw.
The Artisan Garden; Laced With Hope Garden by Laura Anstiss and Frost Landscapes.
The Space to Grow Gardens include; Cherub HIV Trust Garden by Naomi Ferrett-Cohen, Thames Water Garden by Tony Woods and Seedlip Garden by Catherine MacDonald.
The gardens by young designers Tom Massey and Stuart Towner are amongst the most anticipated, especially as both are Chelsea 1st timers. Towner won ‘best in show’ for his 2015 Hampton Court Palace Flower Show Garden so expectations are high for his Cornish inspired garden featuring almost 2000 Hortus Loci grown plants, including the ‘Rice-Paper Tree’ Tetrapanex Rex which encourages wildlife in the garden.
Tom Massey’s garden will showcase mostly Mediterranean plants by Hortus Loci, and aims to highlight the plight of Refugees supported by The Lemon Tree Trust. Four large lemon trees will ensure that visitors know which garden this is!
This mix of rising stars and established horticultural talent keeps the Hortus Loci team on their toes from the minute the show gardens are announced in November until the show closes. Mark along with his Chelsea show plant team have hectic schedules ensuring the plant material in all gardens is perfect for 21st May.
It’s not just young talent that rely on Hortus Loci to grow and deliver show stopping plants, Chris Beardshaw and Jo Thompson are repeat clients who have achieved gold medals with Hortus Loci plants. The pressure is always on to maintain the supremely high plant quality that will ensure Gold medals year after year.
The Artisan and new category, ‘Space to Grow’ gardens come with their own challenges for the designers; smaller spaces, tighter budgets and often little or no sponsorship but it’s part of the Hortus Loci remit to encourage new talent who rely on Mark and Robin’s expertise to get them to the show with the best possible plants giving them a real chance of medal success.
On the importance of Chelsea for the business Mark Straver said: “Chelsea is immense for us, it’s as much our showcase as it is the designers, it’s the ultimate shop window and each year back at the nursery we show our retail customers how to get the Chelsea Look, We feature the colour combinations that were prevalent and have available for sale hundreds of the very plants that we grew for the show”
The Hortus Loci retail nursery The Plant Centre, is situated on the same site and it is here that members of the public can buy into ‘the Chelsea Look’ from the day the show opens, so that virtually everything that is featured on the television will be available at the nursery.