Schools start growing for Chelsea | Love The Garden

Schools start growing for Chelsea

John Clowes's picture
By John Clowes, Gardening Guru

This year the RHS celebrates their Centenary

Sowing seeds for Chelsea Thank you to all the schools that have shown interest in growing plants for our tremendous task of mounting four gardens for the 2013 Chelsea Flower Show. More than 200 schools have registered on this site from all around the country and most will have already received their allocated seeds and many will have started growing already. Composts or vouchers to buy Miracle-Gro composts have also been delivered via our garden centre partners. Thanks to all of them for their help.

There’s no time to lose if we are to have great looking plants for our May display. Some tender seeds, such as aubergine, French beans, runner beans, tomatoes, lobellia and geraniums are slow growers and need to be sown indoors and grown in a light, warm spot until ready. Whereas hardy vegetables such as cabbage, calabrese, cauliflower, broad beans, peas and carrots need to be sown indoors now and when they are well up can be moved into a polytunnel or unheated greenhouse to mature. The same treatment also needs to be provided for hardy annual flowers such as poppies, pansies and cornflower. If your school doesn’t have a greenhouse, then cloches, cold frames or even a bike shelter near a south-facing wall should provide the necessary protection from the worst of the winter weather.

This year the RHS celebrates their Centenary on the same site in central London and to mark that milestone we have agreed to use our four garden site in the Grand Pavilion to demonstrate to visitors how the plants we grow in our gardens have gradually changed over those one hundred years.

The Centenary theme for our Miracle-Gro’wers has been pinpointed to show a garden from 1913, 1940’s, 1970’s and 2013. The plants in these four gardens have been selected to show visitors how plant breeders have gradually improved the blooms of flowers and the size and flavour of vegetables to fit in with the ever-changing average British garden. Here’s an example from the cabbage family. Cabbage ‘Wheelers Imperial’ for 1913 ( to be grown by Acorns School, Barton Hill Academy and Broadstone First School), Cabbage Primo for 1940’s (Hazel Oak and Southland Schools), Cabbage Hispi F1 (Marlborough Primary and Talavera Junior) and Cabbage Sir 2013 (Monks Walk School).

Each school will have been told the date of the garden their allocated seeds are being grown for. Those in Devon, Wales and the West country are growing for 1913; those in the Midlands and further north will be growing mainly for the War years garden of 1940’s; while those in London and the south will be concentrating on the flower-power and patio years of 1970’s. The lucky schools in Hertfordshire and East Anglia will be growing the latest and most up-to-date varieties of flowers and vegetables to show how modern varieties of 2013 have developed into the wonders that we can all appreciate today. 


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