Perennial wins silver-gilt at Chelsea but golden ticket is a visit from HM the Queen

Clare Johnsonin Industry News

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The collaboration between garden designer, occupational charity and the horticulture industry has been richly rewarded today as Perennial celebrates winning a Silver-Gilt Medal at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show after welcoming Her Majesty The Queen at last night's Gala.

Her Majesty was very interested in the work of the charity and that of its landscaping partners for the event, Streetscape (a social enterprise that encourages long-term unemployed to train as horticulturists).

Granted royal status in 1851 by Queen Victoria, Perennial (formerly known as The Gardeners' Royal Benevolent Society) is the only UK charity dedicated to helping all horticulturists in times of crisis.

It has marked its 175th anniversary at the show with a wonderful exhibit in the Great Pavilion. Perennial's Patron HRH Princess Alexandra also visited, as did Princess Beatrice.

Designed by Jo Thompson the garden has been made possible with help, advice and donated plants and materials from some industry stalwarts including Hardy's Cottage Garden Plants, Coblands Nurseries, Majestic Trees and CED Natural Stone.

The landscaping was managed by Jay Osman and his brilliant team of apprentices from social enterprise Streetscape, along with a host of Perennial volunteers.

Speaking at the show on Monday, Alan Titchmarsh, President of Perennial, said: "It is fitting that the exhibit designed to mark this unique charity's 175th anniversary has been possible thanks to partnership, friendship and goodwill from across the horticulture industry.

The garden itself is lovely - a true haven of peace and tranquillity amongst the hustle and bustle of Press Day here. I am proud to be associated with Perennial and long may their work continue to help horticulturists young and old in times of need."

Press Day visitors to the show on Monday were treated to a musical celebration spanning 175 years by legends Harry 'The Piano' and saxophonist Simon Bates.

A host of TV and big-screen celebrities including John Humphries, Esther Rantzen, Floella Benjamin, David Domoney and Anna Maxwell-Martin, visiting the show with her Mum, stopped to admire the garden.

Richard Capewell, Chief Executive at Perennial, says: "We have so many people to thank for their help with this exhibit and our representation at Chelsea this year.

The visit by The Queen really was the icing on the cake - we are all very proud to be associated with this great charity that offers a lifeline to those working in and retired from horticulture."

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