To mark the one hundred and first RHS Chelsea Flower Show, Burncoose Nurseries will be featuring 101 plants from China on its exhibit in the Great Pavilion.
The garden is designed to illustrate how many of the most popular everyday plants in our herbaceous, ornamental and woodland gardens were in fact first discovered only 100 or so years ago in Southern China and its historical outlying provinces.
The 101 plants represent the work of the great plant hunters, Ernest Wilson, George Forrest and Frank Kingdom Ward who travelled to China after 1905 on often dangerous and difficult expeditions to collect seeds from new and unknown species of plants.
These expeditions were funded by nurserymen, horticulturalists and landowners who remained safely back in the UK. With a family history and heritage in horticulture spanning 150 years, including funding plant hunting expeditions, Owner of Burncoose Nurseries, Charles Williams knows better than most what the intrepid plant hunters must have encountered on their missions.
To illustrate some of the challenges and adventures experienced by plant hunters in China, visitors to the Burncoose stand will be able to see a collection of original photographs taken on some of George Forrest’s 11 expeditions to China between 1905 and 1932.
These photographs come from the Williams family archive on the Caerhays Estate (of which Burncoose Nurseries is part) and were sent back to Cornwall by George Forrest to J.C. Williams of Caerhays Castle, the great grandfather of the current owner, Charles Williams.
These pictures of life in China at the turn of the 20th Century and the plants that the collectors discovered in different habitats are unique and have never been seen by the public before.
Charles Williams said, “This is a rather different Burncoose stand which will not necessarily be the usual massed blaze of colour. The intention is to enable visitors to the show to conjure up in their minds the historical reality of how this vast wealth of Chinese plants have actually come to thrive and be enjoyed in our gardens today.”
The stand will represent a rocky Chinese ravine with the plants that the great British plant hunters would have seen for the very first time. It has been created and brought to life by Burncoose’s long-standing Chelsea design team, Gerry Hammond and Louisa Lazarowicz.
The Burncoose Nurseries’ garden is supported by Terra Firma Capital Partners.
Burncoose has a strong track record of success at Chelsea, having won a combined collection of more than 30 Gold and Silver Gilt medals during the past 25 years whilst exhibiting at the show.
The Burncoose exhibit will be located in the Great Pavilion, stand number D18.