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!

best climbing plants for gazebos

The Best Climbing Plants to Grow up a Gazebo …

A good quality gazebo can be a welcome addition to any garden. It can provide a focal point while giving you a place to enjoy a glass of wine on an evening. During the day, a gazebo is the perfect place for entertaining, it can protect from the harmful rays of the sun while providing adequate wind protection too.

We all covet the established gazebo that is adorned with an array of bright colourful blooms, clambering for attention as they spill, un-abandoned, over the roof. This scene can take years to accomplish, but if you choose the best plants you can enjoy a spectacle akin to this within the first twelve months.

Here are some of the best, fast growing climbers for growing up a gazebo.

Climbing Roses …

Climbing roses are ideal for planting at the side of a gazebo. They flower in their first year and can reach extraordinary heights. You can choose a colour palette that matches your tastes and you’ll be greeted with a rich, floral scent as soon as they start to bud. Be wary of thorns and make sure they twine around areas you won’t rest your back.

Clematis …

There are hundreds of different types of Clematis and each one is as vibrant as the next. These will grow tall in a single season and shower your gazebo with pretty, fragrant flowers with the most intoxicating scent.

Passion Flower …

The detail in the passionflower is a sight to behold, as they are so intricate yet so bold. You can create a spectrum of colours within just 12 months, by choosing this climber to adorn your new gazebo.

Winter Jasmine …

Winter Jasmine keeps it’s green colour all through the frost yet rewards you with white small, delicate flowers in the spring. It can ensure there’s always interest no matter what time of the year and is a great choice for gazebo flowering.

Virginia Creeper …

The Virginia Creeper loves to climb walls and can turn any home into a picture postcard. It’s actually great for gazebos as it adds foliage amongst the flowers. In the autumn the leave turn a vibrant, fiery red, before it sleeps for the winter, only to wake with a passion in the spring.

Wisteria …

Wisteria isn’t exactly fast growing, and it can take up to five years to bloom but it is well worth it. If you own your home or plan on staying for a long time, it’s well worth planting wisteria as you plant the other faster growing climbers. Once established you’ll be rewarded with a waterfall of colour twice a year.

Is there a climber we’ve not mentioned that you grow up your gazebo? Please do let us know.

mcmillan legacy garden cardiff rhs flower show

McMillan Legacy Garden looks great with our Curved Backless Bench …

Cardiff RHS Flower Show is always a great one there’s always a buzzing atmosphere and it kicks the RHS season off in great style every year.

And this year was no different – particularly as the sun shone all weekend meaning our 150 square metre trade stand was busy with show-goers all weekend making for a great atmosphere.

In fact, we even caught the eye of a film crew from Welsh TV!

The meaning of life – a Legacy Garden from McMillan …

“The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.”

Nelson Henderson

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How to Clean a Cantilever Parasol

How to Clean a Cantilever Parasol …

Cantilever parasols provide an attractive feature to any garden.

They can be vibrant, while giving relief from the hot burning sun. They can keep drinks cool and the sun out of your eyes, they can even offer shade from a breeze on a windy day.

A parasol is a must for entertaining outside on a warm day, as it ensures you have the right protection as you while away the hours chatting at a table or picnic bench. Of course, in Britain, we experience a lot of rain and it’s not always possible to bring the cantilever parasol in from the elements. This can result in mould or dirt on the fabric, and rust on the mechanics.

Cantilever parasols are large, and as such cannot be fully immersed in warm water in order to clean away the debris. Here are some tips on how to clean a cantilever parasol.

Use natural ingredients to clean your Cantilever Parasol …

You usually don’t need anything heavily scented to clean a cantilever parasol. That’s because the fresh air usually gives a scent many try to imitate indoors. Instead choose natural ingredients to cut through the mould and to sterilise the fabric.

At this point, if you have a steam cleaner, that would probably be the best tool for cleaning the parasol. All you need is water and an electric supply.

If you don’t own a steam cleaner, you can still achieve good results with a bucket of hand hot water and these ingredients:

  • White vinegar
  • Baking Soda
  • Lemon Juice
  • Salt


The salt acts as a natural abrasive to remove stains and absorb mould. The baking soda and vinegar react to lift mould from the fabric. They will also sterilise and deodorise the parasol. The lemon juice cuts through grease and will make washing easier. Make sure you have a bucket of hot clean water to rinse.

At this point all you need is elbow grease …

Unfortunately if the parasol is very mouldy, it may be nigh on impossible to remove it. We sell a wide range of cantilever parasols that could provide an attractive replacement. You can also buy parasol covers to prevent damage happening in the future, these should protect your parasol against the elements.

Marine Grade Furniture a success in Dubai …

Marine Grade Furniture a success in Dubai …

The Dubai International Boat Show, (DIBS) really is a true spectacle.

2017 was our first year exhibiting at the event and it certainly won’t be our last. To be honest we knew we were taking a bit of a risk as a UK retailer booking an event overseas but our Luxor Marine Grade Furniture has done really well at both the Southampton and London Boat Shows and when you consider that DIBS is the biggest boat show in the world we thought it was a calculated risk.

A few show highlights for you …

highlights Dubai international Boat Show

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