Gardens Illustrated
Plants in hospital
© Grace Alexander

Yeo Valley Chelsea Flower Show plants used for garden in intensive care unit

The plants which were destined for Yeo Valley's Chelsea Flower Show garden are now at home in Derriford Hospital

Following a call-out over Instagram, the organic plants grown by Hortus Loci that were due to be featured in the Yeo Valley RHS Chelsea Flower Show garden have all found a new home.

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Amid stories of thousands of plants going to waste following the cancellation of RHS shows including Chelsea Flower Show, the good news story demonstrates what can happen when people come together on social media.

Florist Grace Alexander initially posted on 18 March that a Plymouth hospital had given her access to enliven its garden in time for blooming in May, when it is likely that doctors and nurses could be facing peak intensity levels due to the coronavirus.

In response, garden designer Tom Massey, who is responsible for designing the Yeo Valley garden at Chelsea 2020 - the first ever show garden grown on organic principles - contacted Grace to say that she could have the plants they had grown.

Johnsons Sweet Peas also donated plants for the seating area in the garden and by March 22 a Chelsea Show Garden was installed in the garden of the intensive care unit at Derriford Hospital, Plymouth.

Grace said: "I think what helped was that I had a clear steer from Kate Tantam (ICU nurse) who said that if we did not get it done in three days, it would not happen because she knew that further lockdown measures would be put in place for the hospital."

Tom said: "The Yeo Valley Organic Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show was going to be a bright and colourful haven for wildlife, with lots of scented and flowering plants. The planting was going to be very naturalistic and meadow like, with a wide range of species. The planting will be looking at its best in May, when the virus is predicted to be at its peak. I hope the planting provides a lift for the tireless NHS staff and helps them keep going through these incredibly difficult times.”

Flowers included in the selection are: Nepeta (Catmint) and thyme species and colourful poppies, geraniums, aquilegias and salvia species, ornamental grasses such as Deschampsia cespitosa and Melica altissima ‘Alba’.

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Many of the RHS's shows have now been cancelled or postponed, but the RHS is planning a Virtual Chelsea Flower Show, which will run over the same dates Chelsea was due to run in May.

Authors

Daisy Bowie-Sell is digital editor of Gardens Illustrated. She has previously worked as a journalist for publications including the Daily Telegraph, WhatsOnStage and Time Out London

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