RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021

This year is the 99th year of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and it’s going to be an invigorating, inspiring and most welcome distraction!

From 21-26 September you will be able to, once again, savour the show virtually from the comfort of your couch. However, for those up for an outing and some fresh air, you will be able to see, smell, touch all the flowers in all their petally glory!

Hooray! We're excited too!

Although we appreciated the virtual show last year and earlier this year, we must admit, it wasn’t quite the same. After a challenging period of time this is a great opportunity to leave the stress behind us and immerse ourselves in the restorative powers of nature.

That’s why, at this years show, the therapeutic value of having plants around is being celebrated as well as the life and work of nurses and the NHS, with a series of show gardens dedicated to honouring the nursing profession.

An Autumn Show

The shift from May to 21-26 September means a different kind of atmosphere, but Autumn has just as much to offer as Spring. In fact, Autumn is the perfect time for Alstroemeria as their flowering season extends right up until October. Parigo Alstroemeria will be exhibiting again at RHS Chelsea after nearly two decades so keep your eyes peeled for that. You will also see the likes of Salvia, Dahlia and an array of grasses and fruit and vegetables.

You’ll have the chance to bask in show-stopping gardens designed by famous designers and many wonderfully creative floral artworks. There'll be plenty of neat ideas and advice on growing plants in containers, inside and out, as well as gardening on your balcony or in any other small space.

The Chelsea Flower Show is a magnificent melting pot of horticultural specialists, florists, nurseries and designers producing a fabulous explosion of creative expression! This is the place to see what’s trending in the gardening world with products such as gardening tools, sculptures and, of course, plants aplenty.

Some gardens to look out for:

Guide Dog’s 90th Anniversary Garden - telling the story of when the first guide dogs were trained in the 1930s for blind war veterans and the wonderful work these creatures do, bringing liberation and connection to the blind.

Bodmin Jail: 60° East – A Garden Between Continents - a blend of European and Asian plants brought together by the landscapes of the Ural Mountain creates a refreshing and calming, atmospheric journey

Green Sky Pocket Garden - showing innovative use of smaller outdoor spaces, bringing nature back into the city.

Pop Street Garden – a colourful pop and street art inspired space to hang out and have some post-lockdown fun!

This show is not to be missed!

Even if it should rain, the show must go on! In fact one year when it was a thoroughly rainy show, one of the exhibitors dubbed it ‘The Chelsea Shower Flow’ (more odd facts here).

Due to covid safety precautions, the number of visitors will be less than in previous years so it’s best to book those tickets as soon as possible.

And if you don’t manage to nab a ticket to the show you can still enjoy the festivities by taking a walk through the streets of Chelsea. They’ll be full of all things flower with themed floral activities and displays.

British Alstro

Now is as good a time as any to be proudly British.

Because, why not?

Also, with more interest in buying local and supporting smaller, homegrown companies closer to where we live, why not add Alstroemeria to that list?

British Grown

Some of us may remember a time when 90% of the flowers supplied in the UK were British grown. We were all going along swimmingly until a fuel price hike in the UK and Dutch government subsidies turned the tables in the 1970’s.

Up until a few years ago, the percentage of British grown flowers sold in the UK was less than 15%. And 90% of that was going to the supermarkets. But that is starting to change.

Although Dutch flower companies have been one step ahead in the flower industry since the 70’s, government subsidies have recently started being phased out which is having a impact on their production.

With many campaigns encouraging greater enthusiasm for British flowers, the demand for British grown flowers is steadily growing.

If you’re in England and buying Alstroemeria grown in British soil, there’s no doubt you’ll be getting a better quality plant. It makes sense to buy plants that don’t have to travel for weeks to get to your door.

Think about how we humans often feel after travelling a few hours on a plane.

Not a pretty sight...

British Bred

Although Alstroemeria originate from South America the first new varieties were bred in Spalding, Lincolnshire by plant breeder John Goemans, becoming known as 'the father of alstroemeria’. He was the first in the world to grow Alstroemeria commercially under glass, introducing the first Alstroemeria variety specifically intended for glasshouse growing in 1959.

By the late 60’s breeding really took off with his launch of pink ‘Ballerina’ - the first of about 50 new varieties he developed over the years for the garden and cut-flower industry. This led to Alstroemeria becoming one of the major glasshouse grown cut flower crops in the world today. In 2018 John Goemans’ company 'Parigo' was taken over by Alec White of Primrose Hall Peonies, where the growing and breeding continues.

There are now about 250 different varieties of alstroemeria available in Britain. We grow over 200 varieties on our 8 acre nursery based in rural Bedfordshire, including original British bred Parigo varieties (such as ‘Apollo’, ‘Friendship’ and the ‘Little Miss’ series), the ‘Colorita’ (‘Princess’) series, ‘Inca’ series, ‘Planet’ series and Inticancha collection. Some of our favourites are ‘Rock ‘n Roll’ and ‘Colorita Fabiana’ with their beautiful and unusual variegated leaves.

Alstroemeria are marvelous because of their comparatively long vase-life (up to 2-3 weeks) and have a long, prolific flowering season.

And strong stems & long bracts make British grown alstro a first prize choice. Also, known as a ‘dry’ and a ‘cool’ crop, they require very little watering or heating.

So they are a sustainability win too!

Gives us reason to be even more proudly British.

And that’s why we love ‘em.