24 May, 2016

M&S in bloom at the Chelsea Flower Show

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show is the flagship event in the horticultural calendar, attracting visitors from all over the world. Last year, we won a Silver Gilt medal with a theme inspired by our Plan A philosophy across flowers and plants to create a naturally balanced eco-system. We’re back again this year, and our garden has been created and designed by Simon, our Product Developer for Horticulture.

Chelsea runs until 28 May and our exhibit supports the M&S food summer campaign ‘Spirit of Summer’. Simon explains the rationale behind it:

“This year’s exhibit is not only a collection of beautifully vibrant coloured blooms, but a celebration of cultural diversity.” The exhibit showcases blooms including English peonies, Columbian roses and gerberas from Holland. So it celebrates floral and cultural diversity across Britain, Europe, Africa and South America – and Simon believes we should educate people on the importance of flower production for all the world’s economies.

The show-stopping centrepiece of the exhibit will be a floral pillar, which parades flowers from each section of the garden, symbolically joining together the variety of cultures. There’s also a table laid with bowls, jugs and flowers representing food from a fiesta, evoking a street party feel.

“We think this year’s gorgeous M&S display will be a truly unique exhibit and I can’t wait to see our customers’ reactions when they see it,” Simon said before Chelsea began.

So, was Simon born with a greenfly spray in his hand? Almost.

“I was inspired by my grandfather’s garden,” he explains. “It was always so immaculate and I started learning gardening from him until it became a hobby.”

But it was only many years later – after studying Textile & Business Administration and spending 15 years in the fashion industry – that he decided to turn his hobby into his career. After studying for an RHS general certificate, he worked for a top London florist before joining M&S 11 years ago.

Simon now specialises in cut flowers and is responsible for creating our new ranges of bouquets, working alongside suppliers from all over the world. That’s a big attraction for Simon.

“I’m lucky enough to travel in my current position, attending trade fairs and events in many different countries to seek inspiration for our flower ranges. Travelling has certainly been one of the inspirations behind our Spirit of Summer: Carnival of Flowers garden currently on view at Chelsea!”

Could you follow in Simon’s footsteps up the garden path and turn your hobby into a career with M&S? 

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