Royal visit crowns gold-medal joy for Norfolk growers at Chelsea Flower Show

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince Harry, visit the Peter Beales Roses display at the 201

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince Harry, visit the Peter Beales Roses display at the 2016 Chelsea Flower Show - Credit: Submitted

Norfolk flower growers rose to the occasion to claim gold-medal successes at this year's Chelsea Flower Show – with a royal visit adding the crowning glory for one proud exhibitor.

Thorncroft Clematis has won a gold medall at the 2016 Chelsea Flower Show. Pictured feft to right: S

Thorncroft Clematis has won a gold medall at the 2016 Chelsea Flower Show. Pictured feft to right: Sylvia Currie, Ruth Gooch, Jon Gooch, Carol Hales and Peter Skeggs-Gooch. - Credit: Submitted

Among the elated winners are Attleborough-based firm Peter Beales Roses, which secured its tenth successive gold medal after impressing the judges with its spectacular design.

The firm also enjoyed a visit from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, who were shown around the exhibit by nursery manager Ian Limmer after making an impromptu stop to admire the blooms – including the new Sandringham Rose, launched this year.

'It was so relaxed and they were charming,' said Mr Limmer. 'They were asking questions about different varieties, and it was such a privilege to have those two or three minutes with them on the stand.'

Mr Limmer said the royal visit was the perfect way to celebrate the company's 23rd gold medal – and its tenth in a row.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during a visit to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, at the Royal Hospit

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during a visit to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, London. Photo: Alpha Press/PA Wire - Credit: PA


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'I don't know if I can put the feeling into words,' he said. 'It is relief, it is joy – all sorts of emotions. I am ecstatic for the whole team.

'It is such a prestigious show, and there are so many gardens out there which have been on a run of golds but have been given a silver-gilt. So to get ten golds in a row is so exciting, and so important for us.'

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Another Norfolk firm celebrating gold in Chelsea's Floral Marquee is Thorncroft Clematis, based at Reymerston, near Dereham.

The company secured its ninth gold medal during its 16th year exhibiting at the show – a return to form after slipping to a sliver-gilt award last year, when the stand was redesigned to allow visitors to walk through the flowers.

Director Peter Skeggs-Gooch said: 'This ninth gold medal is such a boost for the whole team, who have put in an astonishing amount of work.

'I have to admit to having felt a little elation, but I am also a man prone to a tear on occasion, and this was a moment that almost brought me to the brink. It was such a relief after a difficult spring.

'The judges were very pleased to see that we had taken careful note of their previous criticisms and dealt with their issues. They were particularly complimentary about the flower quality, which we were very pleased with.'

Other growers contributing to award-winning gardens included British Wild Flower Plants (BWFP) in North Burlingham, near Acle, which supplied celebrity gardener Diarmuid Gavin's latest creation, which won a silver-gilt medal.

Jesse Timberlake, of BWFP, said: 'Although Diarmuid Gavin's garden was the most talked about at Chelsea this year, with spinning topiary and mechanical flower beds, he did not get Best-in-Show, but instead a silver-gilt award. We at BWFP are very excited and proud to see our Norfolk-grown native wildflowers in his most unusual of gardens, and it goes to show that there is a growing trend for 'wilder' looking gardens these days, both at Chelsea and around the country.'

Have you won an award for a horticultural or agricultural enterprise? Contact chris.hill@archant.co.uk.

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