The countdown begins.
So. We're in full planning mode for RHS Chelsea, and we still have that mix of excitement and nervousness we had the day we were told the judges assessed our design and gave us the prestigious nod. In case you're not familiar with the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, here's a snapshot of what the world's most famous flower show is all about.
Held in the grounds of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, the show has been running at the site since 1905, showcasing some of the world's top gardening, horticultural and floristry talents and tapping into some of the nation's key moments such as Coronations. It attracts an average of 170,000 visitors over five days, with a mix of young and old, famous and Royal, and the good old BBC! (Make sure you stay tuned during the week of the show!)
Now, you might think a horticultural show isn't rock and roll, but it has always had attitude. In 1927, there was a campaign to ban foreign exhibits from the show to reduce competition with British firms. The RHS flatly refused saying, 'horticulture knows nothing of nationality'. On the flip side, garden gnomes ARE banned (aside from one year of leniency for the centenary show). Other shows have seen James May of Top Gear fame create a garden exhibit completely out of plasticine, we've seen supercars made out of blooms, and (for hay fever sufferers) there is such thing as 'Chelsea Flu', due to the sheer volume of pollenating plants, flowers and trees.
At the show, you'll see around 500 exhibitors from around the world, with 250 shopping stands, and 100 exhibitors in the 12,000m2 Grand Pavilion... of which, we are one!!
So you can see it's a pretty big deal. It's our first outing and we know we are competing against some top florists and established medal winners. We know we're taking on a challenge, but that's what excites us; pushing our craft and ourselves as far as we can go. We literally can't wait to get to Chelsea for an incredible experience and next step on the Norris Floristry journey.
We're not sure what to expect, but some wise words came from Jamie Butterworth, who is an RHS ambassador and garden designer, and described taking part in the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. 'I love the pressure, the adrenaline. You work for as long as you can, as hard as you can, then you go to the pub afterwards.'
The team will let you know if that's true, probably from behind a glass of something cool.