Buff Yorkstone lays the ground for Five Stars at Chelsea Flower Show 2015

Something that seldom gets put in the limelight at Chelsea Flower Show is the high standard of the trade stands. We were thrilled that Matt Keightley's Sentebale – Hope in Vulnerability, complete with London Stone paving, won the People's Choice Award in the show garden category (an accolade that many designers prefer to Best in Show), but we were also very pleased for Hartley Botanic, who for the fourth year running gained the highest level - Five Stars - for their stand. Our Buff Yorkstone paving slabs featured strongly.


This is the third year that Catherine MacDonald, in-house designer for Landform Consultants who construct the stand, has put it together and, for the past two years, her designs have landed Hartley Botanic the award of Best Trade Stand.

This year Dan Pearson's slice of Chatsworth took Hartley’s usual pitch on the triangle but they didn't leave triangles behind, as they moved a smidge further up Southern Road to put their greenhouses on another more or less three-sided plot.

There's no particular brief for trade stands from the RHS, although they do ask that hard landscaping is softened with planting. For this Catherine chose two schemes, one for shade, where the beds were sheltered by the greenhouse walls, and one for full sun.


Apart from looking good, the planting also works to direct footfall. “I try to make it so there's only access on one side of a stand. We had two entrances but both were on the same road, broken up by soft planting,” said Catherine. “You don't want your stand to be a thoroughfare, with people cutting across it to get to another road.  This made the stand circulatory—people could walk on at one entrance and off at the other.  They were taken around the greenhouses, which is what you want to show off.”

Chelsea 2015-london stone HB stand-4708 ginger horticulture

Photo credit: Jonathan Ward, Ginger Horticulture

Catherine likes a simple paving plan, so slabs were laid as a straight block, coming straight out from the greenhouses.  There were some trickier calculations where the paving in front of two of the houses met and she chose a centre point and line to create a balanced transition. Gravel added a different texture to the hard landscaping while maintaining wheelchair accessibility.

Chelsea 2015-london stone HB stand-4688 ginger horticulture

Photo credit: Jonathan Ward, Ginger Horticulture

Buff Yorkstone looks particularly good against brick so it was also used inside the greenhouses where, to avoid small strips and off-cuts of stone, Catherine used bespoke paving slabs. She prefers rectangular slabs as they look more elegant and they also echoed the outside paving.

Chelsea 2015-london stone HB stand-4696 ginger horticulture

Photo credit: Jonathan Ward, Ginger Horticulture 

Hartley Botanic has been manufacturing greenhouses since 1938, are still on the same premises and, in some cases, still using the same machinery to manufacture precision components. It's quite a record, and when it comes to successful show gardens at RHS Chelsea, they're well into creating another great record!

By London Stone Blog | Published 28th May 2015
Previous Post Next Post