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

The garden around the forge will in effect be an historical record of Blacksmiths gone by. A garden which 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 relax and 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.

Rambling roses and foliage make their 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.