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A landmark moment...

This is the first time that the Blue Diamond Group will have exhibited at RHS Chelsea Flower Show and we are thrilled to be able to do so.
Although not unfamiliar with RHS Flower Shows, Blue Diamond having regularly exhibited its own brand Fryer’s Roses, this is very much new territory for the Group.

Blue Diamond is one of the largest Garden Centre Groups in the UK and Channel Islands with 37 centres to date.
We will be working alongside multi-medal winning Ross Conquest and the team at Conquest Creative Spaces to bring this garden to life.

Name of the Garden

We have therefore designed and will be creating an Artisan garden called The Blue Diamond Forge Garden. This is a collaborative design by the team at Blue Diamond.

Inspiration for the Blue Diamond Forge Garden

The Blue Diamond Forge Garden is inspired by the National Trust Forge in Branscombe, Devon which dates back to the 15th Century and is thought to be the oldest working forge and continues to operate today.

Simon Hall is the current resident Blacksmith at the Forge in Branscombe and he is designing and creating bespoke artisan products for us to use in our garden at Chelsea. He will also be working in our Forge Garden on press day.

This is a really lovely and authentic link between our Forge Garden and the actual Forge we have taken inspiration from.

Key Features of the Garden

The Key Features of our Garden will include a thatched roofed forge, the original Forge in Branscombe was also thatched.
Our forge will be built from natural materials and will contain art and artefacts from previous Blacksmiths who would have worked in the Forge.
Examples of the current Blacksmith’s work will feature in our garden. The current resident Blacksmith is very much an artist Blacksmith who takes inspiration from the natural surroundings which is then represented in his work.
There will be a surrounding stone wall which, along with the Forge, would have provided much needed protection from the elements for the Blacksmith.
The Garden will also feature a stream flowing through, providing the Blacksmith with water.

Forge and Surrounding Garden / Plants in the Garden

A garden that has a very naturalistic yet practical feel. Herbs and plants for food and medicinal use mixed with wild flowers and marginals along the stream that flows through the garden; a place for the Blacksmith to gain inspiration from.
A natural woodland setting in which the forge sits, provides the perfect backdrop, with trees, including fruit trees, pushing their way into the edges of the garden, providing autumnal produce for the Blacksmith.

Foliage makes it's way upwards and over the roof of the forge, clinging to the structure and softening the edges such that forge becomes almost at one with nature.

Designer Biographies

Alan Roper
Managing Director of The Blue Diamond Group

Alan had the original idea to design an Artisan garden at RHS Chelsea and wanted to base it on the National Trust values which are to protect and promote the heritage of its properties and gardens whilst rejuvenating and moving with the times, making their National Trust sites more appealing to the modern-day visitor.

Alan has a National Diploma in Horticulture and has been the Managing Director of Blue Diamond for 20 years.

James Nuttall
Head of Plants at Blue Diamond and Lead Designer

James has worked in horticulture for 29 years starting out at Fryer’s Garden Centre which is interestingly now part of the Blue Diamond Group.

James enjoys the creative and commercial side of horticulture and is driven by the joy people get from plants and gardening and how nature can inspire our creativity.

James has worked closely with the Blue Diamond Design Team to reach the final design for the forge and garden and planting scheme.

Jill Kerr
Rose Category Manager and Events Manager at Blue Diamond

Jill started out life as a Commercial Litigation solicitor before leaving to join Fryer’s Garden Centre and subsequently Blue Diamond as their Trade and Business Export Manager. Jill has now moved to join the Plant Team but also organises the Group’s attendance at various RHS shows, predominantly to promote the Group’s own brand, Fryer’s Roses. Jill has been involved in the garden from its concept, co-ordinating the team and liaising with the RHS and press.

Kevin Fleming
Plant Manager at Blue Diamond

Kevin has a wealth of horticultural experience starting his career in 1991 before joining Blue Diamond 16 years ago.  Kevin is now a Plant Manager for the Group. Kevin has assisted with planting scheme for the Blue Diamond Forge Garden and will work with the team to create the garden at RHS Chelsea.

Anna King
Visual Merchandiser at Blue Diamond

Anna studied art, design and textiles which lead to a career in the design industry for many years before moving to work for Blue Diamond as a Visual Merchandiser. This role enables Anna to combine her love of gardening and creative projects. Anna created the artist impression of the Blue Diamond Forge Garden and will help to bring the garden to life at the show.

A list of the plants used in the show garden

PERENNIALS

Cosmos ‘Chocamocha’ Chocolate Cosmos
Helenium ‘September Gold’ Sneezeweed
Helenium ‘Kleine Aprikose’ Sneezeweed
Coreopsis grandiflora ‘Sunray’ Tickseed ‘Sunray’
Lysimachia ciliata 'Firecracker' Loosestrife ‘Firecracker’
Astrantia 'Star of Love' Master wort
Cosmos 'Eclipse' Cosmos 'Eclipse'
Plantago major ‘Purpurea’ Plantain
Symphytum officinale Comfrey
Rudbeckia deamii Deams coneflower
Rubeckia 'Henry Eilers' Sweet Coneflower
Persicaria 'Blackfield Mountain Fleece Flower
Digiplexis 'Falcon Fire' Tender Foxglove?
Kniphophia 'Redhot Popsicle' Red hot poker
Echinacea 'Salsa Red' Coneflower 'Red Salsa'
Echinacea 'Sundown' Coneflower 'Sundown'
Pulmonaria 'Trevi Fountain' Lungwort
Pulmonaria 'Pierres Pure Pink' Pink Lungwort
Cornus canadensis Dwarf cornel or Bunchberry
Digitalis 'Gold Crest' Foxglove
Crocosmia 'Emily McKenzie' Monbretia
Crocosmia 'George Davison' Monbretia
Fragaria vesca Wild Strawberry
Lychnis chalcedonica Maltese cross Jerusalem cross common rose
Hypericum perforatum perforate St John's-wort
Gaura 'Keralee'  Lindheimer's Beeblossom
Euphorbia griffithii Griffith's spurge
Iris foetisima Stinking iris, Gladwin iris and coral iris

CLIMBERS

Hedera helix ‘Clotted Cream’ Ivy ‘Clotted Cream’
Hedera helix Common Ivy
Parthanocissus Virginia Creeper
Clematis tangutica Golden Clematis

GRASSES

Melica 'Atropurperea' Dark Purple Siberian Melic 
Panicum 'Redbraun' Switch Grass
Penniseetum alopecuroides Fountain Grass
Hakonechloa macra Hakone grass
Festuca gautieri Spiky Fescue or Bearskin Fescue
Carex pendula Drooping sedge, weeping sedge
ophiopogon planiscapus niger Black Dragon
Sagina Scibulata Heath pearlwort, Irish-moss

TREES

Salix x sepulcralis ‘Erythroflexuosa’ Willow
Malus ‘Wintergold’ Apple ‘Wintergold’
Mespilus germanica Common Medlar

AQUATICS

Cardamine pratensis Cuckoo Flower
Hottonia Palustris Water Violet
Baldelia ranunculoides Lesser water plantain.
Typha Latifalia Broadleaf cattail, bulrush
Typha angustifolia Narrowleaf cattail

WILDFLOWERS

Cymbalaria muralis Ivy-leaved Toadflax
Geranium robertianum Herb Robert
Lamiastrum galeobdolon Yellow Archangel
Rumex acetosa Common Sorrel
Sanguisorba minor Salad Burnet
Urtica dioica Common Stinging Nettle
Sanguisorba 'Red Thunder' Great Burnet
Erigeron canadensis Horse Weed
Rhinanthu minor Yellow Rattle
Fragaria vesca Woodland Strawberry
Selinum wallichianum Wallich milk parsley

FERNS

Asplenium scolopendrium Hart’s Tongue Fern
Dryopteris erythrosora Japanese Shield Fern
Polypodium vulgare Common Polypody
Dryopteris affinis Golden male fern
Osmunda regalis Royal Fern
Blechnum Spicant Hard Fern, Deer Fern

SHRUBS

Berberis thunbergii ‘Orange Rocket’ Japanese Barberry ‘Orange Rocket’
Berberis 'Rose Queen' Japanese barberry
Euonymus europaeus Spindle
Cotoncaster horizontallis Herringbone Cotoneaster.

EDIBLE

Mentha piperita Mint
Origanum herrenhausen Oregano
Origanum Rosenkuppel Ornamental Oregano
Daucus Carota Wild carrot
Thymus officinalis Thyme