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Chelsea Flower Show: West Country gardeners hope for awards as gates open to public

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: May 20, 2014

The Queen tours the Chelsea Flower Show last night for her traditional preview. Picture: Stefan Wermuth/PA Wire

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Gardeners from the West Country will find out what their gardens have won as the Chelsea Flower Show opens to the public today.

Among the designers representing the West Country are Chris Smith and Mike Milligan, from Pennard Plants in Glastonbury, whose garden is on the central theme of the ~centenary of the outbreak of the First World War.

Also representing the region is Hugo Bugg, from Exeter, whose Waterscape Garden aims to demonstrate how excess water from the sky can be channelled, drawing inspiration from the storms that battered the region this winter.

Thousands of people are set to pour through the gates at the Royal Hospital Chelsea to see first-time designers along with returning faces led by Alan Titchmarsh, who has created his first garden for the show for almost 30 years.

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The judges will unveil the awards for the gardens and displays, although Titchmarsh’s feature garden – which marks his 50 years in horticulture and the 50th anniversary of Britain in Bloom – is not being judged.

After celebrities and Royals basked in the sunshine – and gardeners doused their gardens to keep them from wilting in the heat – members of the public face more showery weather at the sell-out show today.

The effects of old and modern conflicts are being remembered in horticulture as the show marks the centenary of the First World War. Designers have drawn on family experiences of war from the Somme to Afghanistan to create displays for this week’s event.

The flower show also contains gardens and displays addressing themes from fashion to sustainability and drawing on inspiration from around the world.

The show gardens include a design by Cleve West inspired by ancient Persian gardens, Italian-style formal gardens and work by Chelsea newcomer Matthew Childs which highlights opportunities for nurturing future potential.

UK growers – including some who battled floods for weeks in Somerset at the beginning of the year – are showcasing their produce, while one herb grower has recreated the vegetable garden where Peter Rabbit liked to eat.

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