Chelsea Flower Show 2006 – Double Gold for ‘Go Barbados’
At the 2006 Chelsea Flower Show, the Barbados Horticultural Society won its thirteenth Gold Medal at this most prestigious of world-class events. Thanks to the hard work of this year’s team, Jean Robinson, Audrey Thomas, Mona Walker, Hetty Atkinson, Joan Linton, Jenny Weetch and Megan Weekes, Barbados now has the excellent record of nineteen successive appearances at the show and an impressive tally of thirteen Gold and six Silver-Gilt medals over the course of that period.
In addition this was a very special year since the Barbados Flower Arranging Society’s Team of Jenny Weetch and Wayne Ramsey, also won Gold. Indeed, they not only won a Gold Medal in their own category, but also won the highly coveted “Best in Show” Award.
These outstanding performances are all the more praiseworthy when considering that participation at Chelsea is no easy task for these intrepid, Bajan amateur horticulturists.
Just days before the start of the show, the hundreds of cut flowers and foliage that so beautifully adorn the Barbados exhibit at Chelsea had to be collected from all around the island. Most of the cut flowers were generously donated by Sir Charles Williams’ company, C.O.Williams Flowers, which is managed by Trevor Hunte, who also accompanied the team to Chelsea. Along with the rest of the blooms and foliage that were collected from the gardens of the volunteers who had grown them, they were all carefully transported to the society’s headquarters and painstakingly cleaned and de-bugged. Once the prerequisite Phyto-Sanitary Certificate had been awarded, the cut plants were wrapped in protective material and carefully packed into huge cardboard boxes. Some fifty boxes later, the precious cargo was ready for shipping to London. Fifty huge boxes…Thank goodness for British Airways!
The Barbados team travelled to London on the same flight as the cut blooms and foliage and as soon as they reached Gatwick, after flying throughout the night, they plunged straight into their next challenge – clearing all the boxes through UK Customs. That task achieved, there was still no time for resting as the team had to immediately set off for the Chelsea showground to unpack and prepare the blooms, which took until the late evening. Quite incredibly, they will keep up this relentless pace for the entire week. As well as being extremely talented, these dedicated ladies are tough, by any standards.
The members of the team were all ably supported by a small army of ‘Bajan’ volunteer helpers, many of whom travelled to London at their own expense, all ever-willing to build and paint backdrops, bang in nails, trim leaves, sweep the floor, fight with Latin names, feed the team or whatever else it took to win Gold. Much credit is also due to the Barbados Tourism Authority for playing a pivotal supporting role for the BHS in all of its Chelsea endeavours.
With the inspirational title of ‘Go Barbados‘, the design of the square shaped exhibit featured a line of Bamboo uprights, a range of palms and a myriad of varieties of tropical plants, all cleverly arranged to produce a truly spectacular kaleidoscope of colours, shapes and textures. Once again, the ever-popular Heliconias, Orchids, Ginger Lilies, Ornamental Pineapples and Anthuriums, including the ‘Sexy Pinks’, stole the show.
Written by Keith Miller, Tuesday 23rd May 2006, Chelsea Flower Show, London.
July 26th, 2006