Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Chelsea Flower Show: Hampshire gold winners celebrate

The Hilliers exhibit
Image caption The Hilliers exhibit has a giant sculpture centrepiece

Hampshire exhibitors have been celebrating winning gold medals at the Royal Horticultural Society Chelsea Flower Show.

Hillier Gardens, based at Ampfield, continued its record run with a 66th consecutive gold medal.

A 16th gold medal for Rosemary Hardy from Whitchurch, has made her Chelsea's most successful female exhibitor.

Sparsholt College lecturer Chris Bird described the gold medal won by 16 students as "absolutely wonderful".

'The ultimate'

The giant Hillier exhibit features 3,500 plants, mature trees, a stream, eye-catching sculpture and a "tone up" trail.

Putting on the exhibit at the renowned gardening show takes the nursery a year to plan, requires a team of 20 to stage and costs up to £100,000.

Garden designer Andrew McIndoe said: "It's the ultimate - it's the best flower show on earth."

Rosemary Hardy, of Hardy's Cottage Plants, based at Whitchurch, said her 12m by 12m (40ft by 40ft) gold medal winning garden had been worked on since January.

She said: "We're absolutely thrilled as it's taken such a lot of hard work. We've had a fantastic team getting all the plants ready."

Other gold medallists included Hampshire Carnivorous Plants in West End, Southampton, and Ainsworth Displays from Waterlooville.

Over 200,000 people are expected to visit the 98th Chelsea flower show, which continues until Saturday.

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