I’m always full of anticipation at this time of year as the first tiny shoots of life push through the soil to remind us how much there is to look forward to. 

This year will be my third full season of RHS shows and I’m going to be celebrating the wonderful resilience of hardy plants as I think back to the Easter floods of 2018 which nearly scuppered my grand plans for Chelsea. 

On Easter Monday night flood water descended on the nursery and my polytunnels ended up beneath three feet of river water just weeks before I was due to supply Chris Beardshaw with significant numbers of Camassia for his Chelsea Flower Show garden. 

I can’t remember how many hours I spent rescuing plants and painstakingly cleaning every little bit of silt off each individual leaf and bud, but the task seemed endless at the time. Thanks to my obsessive plant cleaning, Camassia’s  love of water and the remarkable toughness of hardy plants they didn’t just survive – they sparkled - and Chris won Best in Show with my Camassia stars sparkling in his garden. This year I’m not taking any chances and the plants are all on raised platforms just in case. 

The planning for RHS Chelsea and the other shows starts a good 18 months in advance so by this time of year I know exactly what needs doing and which plant combinations I’m going to have on my stands. Malvern and Chelsea are perfectly timed for my Camassia which will be in full bloom and displayed alongside complementary hardy plants. One of my favourites to plant alongside Camassia is Veronica gentianoides ‘Tissington White’ with its crisp white flowers which look stunning with blue Camassia. 

I’ll be sharing plenty more planting ideas and updates from the nursery as the seasons unfold. 

Happy Gardening!

Stella Exley

Hare Spring Cottage Plants