Where to find inspiration without the RHS Chelsea Flower Show

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show gives us at The Real Flower Company an opportunity to allow the world to enjoy the wonders of our scented roses, sweet peas and the many other English flowers and foliage we grow on our own sustainable farms in Hampshire and West Sussex and at our sister farm, Tambuzi, in Kenya. But it is also the place where our founder Rosebie Morton finds inspiration, exploring new hybrids, scents, colours and arrangements, sharpening her senses and celebrating nature’s abundance and variety.

Sadly, the live 2020 RHS Chelsea Flower Show has been cancelled – though you can find a virtual version here. In its absence, we asked Rosebie where she finds inspiration to feed her passion for bringing the best of English garden blooms direct to your door.

Surrounded by nature

I am lucky to live in a fantastically inspirational place. I’ve always found my inspiration first and foremost in the nature all around me. Here on the farm in Hampshire, which is also my home, I’m surrounded by native hedging, bursting with flower and scent, and beautiful trees such as Copper beech, which from a distance has such rich colours it looks as though it’s on fire. As I walk to work each morning, it’s impossible not to bury my nose in the blooms of a white Wisteria and exclaim at its incredible scent. Then as I open the gates to the paddock I’m enveloped in rows of scented Philadelphus, White Rocket, Catmint and flowering Rosemary – just for starters. I continue past rows of Viburnum and an array of different coloured foliage before walking through the garden roses and noticing the first few buds. By the time I get to the office, I’m on a definite high!

Ask a friend

Working in this business, I am lucky to meet some truly knowledgeable and inspiring people who are generous with both their time and their experience. Two of them are Robin Wallis and Mark Straver from Hortus Loci. True to its name, this is an inspirational place to buy exquisite, carefully nurtured plants and I have spent many happy hours discussing plants with Robin and Mark over a delicious cup of coffee from Hobo.co in the shed attached to their Hampshire nursery. They supplied some of our plants for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show last year and I am sure were one of the main reasons why we were awarded a Silver Gilt medal.

Magic from the past

Another inspiration is someone who is no longer with us but has had a massive influence on my style of planting, on what flowers we grow to create our bouquets and on the way we let the flowers speak for themselves – Christopher Lloyd of Great Dixter. Usually by this time of the year I would have been down to Great Dixter, Christopher’s glorious garden near Rye in East Sussex, to get my fill of the fabulous, brightly coloured plants that vye with one another to be the star of the show. As I write this, I can’t help but smile at the thought of this magical place.

Seeding ideas

Seed catalogues are a huge source of inspiration at any time, but during lockdown I have spent hours losing myself in the Chiltern Seeds catalogue and ordering ridiculous quantities of all sorts of seeds – the vibrant pictures and descriptions make me want to buy far too much! And how will I ever find the time to sow them all? As for gardening books, I love dipping in and out of old classics such as Margery Fish’s We Made a Garden. First published in 1956, this honest and inspiring book chronicles the journey of a couple to create a Somerset garden – with all its trials and tribulations, highs and lows, arguments and compromises!

In honour of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, The Real Flower Company has created a special seasonal Chelsea Bouquet filled with the scent of early summer and using a fresh palette of green and white to express tranquility and purity. We’ll be making a donation from each bouquet sold to @thetherapygarden, a charity that promotes positive change through gardening.

Shop The Chelsea Garden Bouquet Now >