Garden displays win Chelsea goldBy Linda Fort
May 31, 2011
Gardens in Ruscombe and Shinfield who have been growing for gold received their prizes at Chelsea Flower Show last week.
Lily-growers HW Hyde and Sons got lucky with their 13th gold medal at the show, but it nearly didn’t go their way.
Elizabeth Hyde, who is responsible for growing the show lilies at the family business in New Road, said: “We came back to the stand and found a great big hole in the middle where a film crew had knocked into it.”
Fortunately the judging had been done before the incident and the family secured gold.
April’s warmer than usual weather meant this year the Hydes were able to put their lilies outside instead of keeping them under glass in the run-up to the show.
Miss Hyde said: “It meant the colour was much more intense this year because of the sunshine.”
However, they had to be taken back into cold storage just before the show to ensure they had not peaked too early.
The School of Biological Sciences at The University of Reading also took a gold medal for its educational display called Your Chocolate World Secured.
The university’s Shinfield glasshouses are home to the International Cocoa Quarantine Centre (ICQC), which handles all international movement of cocoa-breeding material and is unique in the world.
The ICQC plays a pivotal role in stopping the spread of pests and disease in cocoa, while ensuring research centres and cocoa plantations worldwide have access to new and interesting varieties.
Andrew Daymond, research fellow and co-ordinator of the ICQC, said: “We are thrilled to have won gold this year.
“Our exhibit explains all about the problems and challenges cocoa growers face, the work we do at Reading to ensure different types of cocoa are transferred between regions in a safe manner, and research into how the crop responds to changing environmental conditions.”
The School of Biological Sciences has a five-year project to assess the threat climate change poses to cocoa. Using state-of-the-art greenhouses to simulate different conditions, Reading researchers can test plants so crop breeders can develop new cocoa varieties better suited to climate change.
New to Chelsea this year, Jill Passman won a silver flora medal for her display of airplants.
She runs mail order company Just Airplants from her home in Hemdean Road, Caversham.
The mother-of-three turned a passion for epiphytes and bromeliads into a business after giving up a globetrotting job in IT that put a strain on her family life.
Mrs Passman, 49, said: “I lost a lot of my plants this winter because of the very cold weather, so I did not have some of my more mature plants to put on show.”
Last year she won gold at the Gardeners’ World Show.