25 May, 2017

Bringing the med to chelsea

What does the Mediterranean mean to you? Acres of golden sunflowers? Fields of fat peonies bursting open against blue skies? Pink bougainvillea spilling over sun-soaked terracotta coloured walls? Inspired by the colours of the Med, our stand at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show is called Spirit of Summer, A Mediterranean Journey – a magical garden overflowing with perfumed stocks, lavender and fragrant herbs.

The creative genius behind the garden is Simon, our flowers expert and Product Developer. This is Simon’s fifth show for M&S and he has five Chelsea medals, including three golds under his belt – already having won a gold this year! He’s out to wow the judges again but he knows how picky they are.

“Obviously, we were very keen to get another gold! But the judges have eyes like hawks; you can’t pass anything by them. Every stem on every plant has to be perfect and we have thousands on the stand,” he says.

Simon gets his exhibit inspiration from M&S's food trends. This year, he wanted to echo the Mediterranean feel of the produce. "For the last four years, we've had a really strong food theme that goes across the whole of M&S," he explains. "When that theme comes out, I try very hard to match my flowers to it so that the customer sees one very strong look."

Once he had decided on the Mediterranean theme, Simon started to look to the country hills of Tuscany and the shores of Cyprus for his blooms and thoroughly researched the areas to ensure he used the perfect flowers, plants and decor. He’s also made sure to use flowers that our shoppers can actually get their hands on in-store, as we are currently selling themed bouquets.

Simon’s hoping that this will be another memorable week. His personal highlight of his four-year Chelsea career was meeting Joanna Lumley when she opened the M&S garden in 2013, although he'll never forget his very first show. "You can never really recreate the feeling of being somewhere for the first time," he says, reminiscing about his first Chelsea garden which won him a silver medal. "But then of course, our first gold the year after was another sensational moment."

Congratulations to Simon and his team for scoring another gold medal this year!

Inside M&S