Norfolk Chelsea Flower Show gold winners

Emily DennisThey have spent countless hours behind the scenes designing and creating beautiful displays that have enthralled the judges at this year's Chelsea Flower Show. Meet Norfolk's award winners...Emily Dennis

They have spent countless hours behind the scenes designing and creating beautiful displays that have enthralled the judges at this year's Chelsea Flower Show.

And it was bouquets all round for the region's exhibitors who are celebrating a clutch of top awards from the world's most prestigious gardening extravaganza.

Attleborough-based Peter Beales Roses is enjoying the sweet smell of success after clinching its 18th gold medal at this year's show.

The company unveiled three new blooms at the show, with varieties commemorating the 100th birthday of the John Innes Centre in Norwich, the 30th anniversary of the Beatrix Potter Society and the recent refurbishment of the Church of Notre Dame in Calais, France.

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The rose Beatrix Potter was launched by actress Patricia Routledge who is famous for her role as Hyacinth Bucket in the television series Keeping Up Appearances.

Rose breeder Amanda Beales said she was "absolutely delighted" with the latest gold medal and praised staff for their hard work.

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"They have got it down to a fine art. We are very proud of them," she said.

Thorncroft Clematis Nursery, at Reymerston, near Dereham, also struck gold with its display of early summer-flowering clematis.

Jon Gooch, who runs the nursery with his wife Ruth and son Peter, said the family took a risk at this year's show but it paid off when they clinched their fourth gold medal in a row.

"In the past, when we didn't get gold medals, the most common criticism was that we didn't have enough flowers over our arches," he said.

"So about four years ago we stopped using arches and then we found we got gold medals. This year we risked putting the arch back into the design. It was a little bit of a gamble, but it paid off. We used a new variety called Forever Friends over the arch and the overall quality of the flower helped us a great deal."

Mr Gooch added: "Having worried about the cold weather, all the flowers opened out at the right moment and looked really fresh. We are delighted."

Mark Whyman, of Fakenham-based Acre Landscapes Garden Construction, was also celebrating success at the show.

Mr Whyman and his colleague Ben Catt worked on the Daily Telegraph garden, designed by Andy Sturgeon, which won best in show and a gold medal. The men were sub-contracted to assist with the display and put in long hours working on paving and planting.

Mr Whyman said: "It was really enjoyable to be part of a great team. There is such a great atmosphere. Everybody is competing against each other, but everybody helps each other as well."

Green-fingered pupils at Costessey High School were also praised for their efforts.

Their mini vegetable plot was exhibited alongside 29 other winning crates in the Morrisons Let's Grow Garden, which won the Bronze Flora Award at the show.

Winners from Suffolk included the Halesworth-based World Land Trust. Its Saving the Atlantic Rainforest exhibit won a gold medal and best in section for Best Continuous Learning Exhibit.

It was the first time the conserv-ation charity has exhibited at the show and coincides with the Inter-national Year of Biodiversity and the World Land Trust's 21st anniversary.

A focal point of the exhibit is the ranger's hut which includes a plasma screen with a live video link to a rainforest reserve in Brazil.

Communications development manager Elaine Shaughnessy said that, in keeping with the trust's conservation work, the display would be rebuilt at Chester Zoo where it would be kept.

She thanked Sir Kenneth Carlisle, chairman of the trust's Chelsea steer-ing committee, scientific adviser Ghillean Prance, and the trust's chief executive John Burton for helping to bring the project to fruition.

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