rhs clowns at hampton court

RHS Clowns, Hairy Bikers & another Award at RHS Hampton Court …

It’s the largest flower show by area on earth and we love it. It just quite simply never fails to impress.

2017, of course, was no exception at all and you can see a full round up of the award winners and the gardens in general on the official RHS website here.

From our perspective as an exhibitor each and RHS Show brings something new but also gives us the chance to see some familiar faces and soak up the atmosphere in our own unique way.

Below are a few of our highlights from 2017 …

The Speckled Hen & the Hairy Bikers …

speckled hen table at RHS hampton court

In the run up to the show we were contacted by Cactus TV who were filming the Hairy Bikers live from the Edible Garden for BBC iPlayer from each day of the show.

They needed two tables for the show and very much liked the look of our Speckled Hen Mosaic Tables – of course we were happy to oblige and were delighted at the response; in fact the organisers had that many enquiries about the tables they asked if they could keep them for use on their other roadshows around the UK.

Amazing what a storm a couple of tables can cause!

The RHS Clowns pop in for a visit and some fun …

The RHS Clowns are feature at many of the flower shows throughout the year and in our opinion don’t get enough publicity – they’re a genuinely amusing pair of characters who add that little extra dimension to the proceedings and at Hampton Court this year they popped in on a us for a visit with very entertaining consequences as you can see from the video above!

Another Award for our luxury furniture exhibits …

Once again the RHS Judges saw fit to give us a Three Star Trade Stand Award for the presentation – something we always take great pleasure in receiving.

As always the biggest highlight with the customers was the Apple Day Bed.

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All in all yet another great RHS Flower Show was had by all.

coast to coast triathlon for muscular dystrophy uk

Help us support a very worthy cause for our first ever employee!

We are proud to be sponsoring a Coast to Coast Triathlon being done for the charity Muscular Dystrophy UK by our very first employee from way back in 1997 and would love you to help support this cause as well.

Sam Taylor was originally employed by us during his summer holidays when he was at school and has since gone on to further a successful career with the construction equipment giant JCB Ltd.

Three years ago Sam’s son, Will, was diagnosed with the severe muscle wasting condition Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and although Will is now seven there is still no cure or treatment for the condition.

where there's a will there's a way for muscular dystrophy uk

This has led to Sam, his wife Sue and a team of friends to become active fundraisers for the charity Muscular Dystrophy UK.

This well-known charity was founded in 1959 to lead the fight against muscle wasting conditions. Since then they have been leading the drive for faster access to more than 60 rare muscle weakening and wasting conditions for more than 70,000 children and adults across the UK.

muscular dystrophy uk

As part of the 2017 fundraising effort Sam sent a speculative email to Jon Haimes, Director at The Garden Furniture Centre, who employed him around 20 years ago asking for support and was delighted when Jon replied offering to be a sponsor for the forthcoming triathlon.

Sam said, “we were delighted when GFC offered to be one of our kit sponsors. Jon has made a very kind donation, which will be shared equally between the set up costs for the triathlon, and a donation to Muscular Dystrophy UK.”

Jon said, “even though it was so many moons ago we remember Sam and are proud to be able to contribute to such a worthy cause.”

The Triathlon will take place on 1st and 2nd September this year and the Coast to Coast team will each cycle 115 miles from Whitby to Windermere, swim 1 mile across Lake Windermere, and then run 26 miles from Lakeside to Walney Island.

You can pledge your support today through the Coast to Coast Just Giving Page.

garden furniture for outdoor entertaining

Outdoor Entertaining – the Garden Furniture you need

Over the past decade we’ve realised that our customers love to use their garden as an extra room for the home. In the summer, the garden becomes an extension and the perfect place for outdoor entertaining and greeting guests.

If you’ve just moved house or are considering a revamp of your garden, we have a quick guide on the best garden furniture for outdoor entertaining.

  1. Table and Chairs …

When buying a table and chairs for the garden, consider the storage potential. Not all furniture is capable of withstanding harsh weather conditions and so may need to be stored over winter. You can find a range of frost resistance garden furniture on our website, or you can choose garden furniture that folds, making it a space saver for storage. The table needs to be sturdy, and capable of holding a good weight, as there’s little worse than a wobbly table that can send drinks flying.

To make chairs more appealing you can add cushions that can be stored inside on wet days.

garden benches are great for outdoor entertaining

  1. Benches …

Good solid garden benches can add focal points to the garden while being capable of providing extra seating should you hold a big event. Make sure the bench is protected with an all weather wood stain or paint, and choose bench cushions to make the bench more comfortable in the summer months.

  1. Gazebos …

A Gazebo is an ideal place to entertain visitors. They can hold between 2 and 10 people easily, and provide shade in the hot summer months. Over time you can grow attractive plants up the gazebo and the addition of a small table makes it an excellent place to hold an afternoon tea party.

outdoor entertaining with parasols for shade

  1. Parasols …

If you have children, parasols are essential for outdoor entertaining. In Britain we many have interchangeable weather but the sun can cause a lot of harm when it does decide to shine. A parasol will also keep food and drinks cooler while entertaining and will ensure you can have a good conversation without the sun in your eyes.

  1. A Swing Seat …

A swing seat is not an essential but it does make for a beautiful addition to any garden. It has romantic connotations and will attract couples at your event. It’s also a great place to relax and read a book when you’re alone. We think a swing seat is the ideal place to watch the sun set.

Have we mentioned all the garden furniture needed for outdoor entertaining or would you add more? Please do let us know if there’s a piece of garden furniture you can’t live without.

chelsea-pensioner-dave-thompson-at-rhs-chelsea-2017

RHS Chelsea 2017 – 4 Stars, V-Logs & Exclusives …

What can we tell you about Chelsea Flower Show that hasn’t already been said before?

Yes, it is arguably the most prestigious flower show in the world. No, it hasn’t always been held in Chelsea – the first show wasn’t even called Chelsea Flower Show and was held in Kensington!

We could go on but all we’d be doing is reporting old news that can be read on countless places all over the digital news spectrum, (by the way, if you want a truly great round up of little known facts about the show you can read a great article published in the Telegraph just before RHS Chelsea 2017 here.)

Of course we could also just do the same old write up about the show gardens, their various meanings, the designers behind them, who won awards and for what, etc, etc.

But, again, this has already been done to death and we’re sure you’ll have read about this already – if not the RHS already have this covered in a live feed here.

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RHS Chelsea 2017 – not all about the flowers!

What we can do is offer a unique perspective from a side of the show that isn’t often talked about, namely, the Trade Stands which are, in actual fact a spectacle in themselves but tend to get swallowed up and forgotten about in the ‘news noise’ from the main event around the show gardens.

And for many visitors to Chelsea Flower Show the Trade Stands are an integral part of their visit. We know this as we’ve had a Trade Stand at Chelsea since 2013 and this year we ran a Facebook Campaign themed along the ‘not all about the flowers’ idea and this got great results with many people commenting on the campaign to acknowledge the fact they would like to see more coverage from the Trade Stand areas …

A massive 4 STARS in 2017 …

You may or may not know that it’s not only the Show Gardens and Garden Designers who win awards at Chelsea.

The Trade Stand Exhibitors are also judged by the RHS and, believe us, competition is rife!

For us plans for our Trade Stand at RHS Chelsea 2017 started shortly after the close of our stand at RHS Chelsea 2016 and every attention to detail is covered.

You’ll see from the video above that the end result is pretty impressive and the RHS Judges obviously agreed with us as they saw fit to award us with a 4 Star Trade Stand Award – the best we’ve had in previous years is 3 Stars so a massive well done to the show organisers for their hard work and effort.

4 star trade stand award at RHS Chelsea 2017

No rest for the wicked though as the Bath & West Show starts in a few days!

Dave’s V-Log!

Every year at Chelsea we get a chance to catch up with familiar faces from previous years and that is a big part of the appeal for us – it’s hard work but there is a social aspect to the event as well.

But the best loved visitor each year has to be the Chelsea Pensioner – Dave Thompson – who’s been supporting us at the show since the very first year.

And for RHS Chelsea 2017 Dave really pulled out all the stops in his own very unique way by agreeing to do a V-Log live from each day of the show. In the truest British tradition he focused on the weather each day with a few little twists and turns thrown in for good measure!

All Dave’s V-Logs are great but our favourite has to be his ‘Happy Birthday’ spectacular …

Nice one Dave!

Exclusive Product Launches …

And of course there was the launch of our Exclusive Fiji Rattan Range at RHS Chelsea 2017.

This brand new range of outdoor rattan is modern, contemporary, visually stunning and the New BIG CORE Weave is totally unique to us.

Seeing really is believing here and from the reaction we’ve had from customers so far we’re positive it is going to be a Fiji Rattan year in 2017 and beyond.

“This looks amazing. It’s almost like the thickness of bamboo as opposed to rattan and I can’t believe how well it just works!”

You can see the full Press Release live in the Newsroom here.

In fact, we even asked the manufacturer to weave some Fiji Rattan backdrops with planter baskets for the stand at Chelsea which has to have helped us win the 4 Stars as well.

All in all a really great show – now we can start planning the stand for RHS Chelsea 2018!

chelsea-pensioner-dave-thompson

VIDEO BLOG – Dave Thompson – our favourite Chelsea Pensioner!

We’ve exhibited at RHS Chelsea Flower Show since 2013 and every year the sizzling atmosphere on our Trade Stand has been made all the more special by a visit from our favourite Chelsea Pensioner, Dave Thompson.

He’s a great character and we welcome his unique brand of humour on our stand every year so, this year in 2017, we’ve taken things one step further and managed to convince Dave to do a daily Video Blog live from our stand.

Who are the Chelsea Pensioners?

As the website of the Royal Hospital Chelsea says …

“The Chelsea Pensioners are the iconic faces of the UK’s veteran community. They reside at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, their 325-year-old home founded by Charles II, in the heart of London.”

Some 300 Chelsea Pensioners live at The Chelsea Hospital from all four corners of the UK. They have seen service in a range of conflicts from World War II to the Falklands.

Dave himself has been a Chelsea Pensioner for 5 years and, as he describes himself, is a Raconteur!

V-Log 1 – PRESS DAY:

Dave anticipates the upcoming show, the visit from the Queen and the forecast for some much needed hot weather!

V – Log 2 – the Opening Day to the Public:

Dave gives us some more pearls of wisdom from his time in Redditch!

V – Log 3:

Dave pontificates about the weather from inside the Apple Day Bed!

V – Log 4:

Dave lounges in the scorching hot sun, sings Happy Birthday to Jill and quotes Jerome K Jerome – perhaps his finest moment yet!

V – Log 5:

Dave chats about sweat fetishes and snow covered gardens!

V – Log 6 – The Final Day:

Dave rounds things off in style with a lovely lady on his arm and quotes from Dylan Thomas …

Until next year Dave – once again you’ve been a star!