Elephants stomp to first place in flower show

Two elephant-themed grass and floral displays in a greenhouse

SIB's winning display at Chelsea Flower Show - Credit: SIB

It has been a ‘blooming’ successful year for the Sidmouth in Bloom team who scooped gold at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in September.

It all started when Sidmouth in Bloom (SIB) was asked by Jon Wheatley, Chair of South West in Bloom and head of a landscaping business, to bring two elephants to Chelsea (Sept 21 – Sept 26) to cover a quarter of the 12m x 10m display.  

Jon had previously visited Sidmouth and had seen ‘Elmer’ in Blackmore Gardens for SIB’s 2019 display. Royal Parks helped to transport the elephants and had them planted up at their Hyde Park greenhouses with the help of three apprentices who were to be taught 3D planting by Lynette following her design.  

The theme for SIB’s display was ‘Diversity and Protection’. The elephants were very popular with visitors, some coming in specifically to see them. The most distinguished visitors were the Princess Royal and her husband, the Count and Countess of Wessex and the Duke of Kent. All of the royals spent several minutes in turn talking about the elephants and the theme.  

The greatest achievements were the Gold Award that was received and, later in the day, the presentation of the ‘Best in the Great Pavilion Award’.

Sutton Seeds, who sponsor SW in Bloom, and together with Jon, also received the ‘Plant of the Year Award’ for the lovely Ceris ‘Eternal Flame. 

Lynette Talbot from SIB said: “For Peter and I, the days were very long over the two and half weeks of build, presenting the display and breakdown of the stand, but the benefits were great: meeting many interested people from around Britain and overseas, and especially familiar faces from Sidmouth. Jon mentored me in how to achieve excellence in a show garden and uniting the four areas. We took the opportunity to highlight Sidmouth and all the community efforts in our town and South West.”