After almost three decades and 24 RHS Gold medals, Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants has this week announced its retirement from exhibiting at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
Hardy’s was due to present its finale exhibit at Chelsea in May 2021 with its largest ever exhibit, sponsored by Candide. Now that the flower show has been postponed until September due to COVID restrictions, Hardy’s has decided to bow out now.
Hardy’s final exhibit was scheduled to have been its largest ever at 160sqm, which is ¾ the size of a Main Avenue show garden. As with all Hardy’s exhibits, the display would have featured many hundreds of the nursery’s species of spring and summer flowering herbaceous perennials and shrubs. All the plants have been nurtured and grown at Hardy’s Nursery in Hampshire over the last two years, in preparation for the show in May.
The show’s postponement meant Hardy’s would not have been able to switch its planting scheme and have the time to grow the many hundreds of ‘gold medal’ quality, autumn flowering perennials which would have been required for the exhibit.
However, the many months of plant preparation will not go to waste, as Hardy’s and Candide are planning to hold a special May celebration, for which more details will be announced in the coming weeks.
Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants will continue to exhibit at all other RHS shows, Malvern Autumn Show and at a selection of plant fairs around the country. Hardy’s will also continue to sell direct from its nursery in Freefolk Priors, Whitchurch, Hampshire online.
Commenting Rosy Hardy said: “We were originally due to have our finale exhibit in 2020 and after the disappointment of that cancellation we agreed to continue for one more year. However, with the postponement of this year’s May show we have reluctantly made the decision to finally retire from RHS Chelsea.
“We have loved our years exhibiting at RHS Chelsea and have some incredible memories. Stepping down from exhibiting there has been a very difficult decision especially as we had such a wonderful exhibit planned for May with our sponsor Candide. But we know the time is right to step back from the annual pressure we put on ourselves to create a flawless exhibit.
“While we will not be exhibiting again, it’s very much ‘au revoir’ to RHS Chelsea, as we will continue to support all our fellow nurseries in the Great Pavilion, many of whom have become life-long friends.”