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17th win at Chelsea

By Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  Posted: May 30, 2012

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COTTAGE garden plants from a home at Clifton have formed part of a gold medal-winning display at the Royal Horticultural Society’s Chelsea Flower Show.

In a real family affair, gardening broadcaster, Anne Liverman, gave some of her plants to her brother, Robert Hardy, a former Clifton lad, for a floral marquee exhibit at this year’s show.

Mr Hardy now runs Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants in Hampshire with his wife Rosy and the pair won their 17th gold medal at Chelsea at the weekend.

Mrs Liverman regularly opens her garden at Dove Cottage, Clifton, under the National Garden Scheme and provided plants and practical support for the display team in the run-up to the nation’s favourite horticultural show.

Mrs Liverman said: “Robert has used some of my plants for the last 21 years.

“I had the fun of going down to London last week and helping them to get set up.” Mr and Mrs Hardy are award-winning nurserymen and have been growing herbaceous perennials commercially for the past 14 years, with their nursery appearing on national television and Rosy regularly contributing to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show TV specials.

Mrs Hardy is currently the most decorated female exhibitor at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and created, this year, a flowing cottage garden with a pathway and water feature in the 10m x 10m display area.

The garden included new release, Osteospermum In The Pink, a hardy perennial which, for every plant sold, will see 20p donated to Breast Cancer Care.

Mr Hardy said: “We were so relieved when we saw the gold medal on the stand we cracked open the champagne at 7am! “It’s been such a difficult spring. Last year we were two weeks early and this year we are two weeks late. It was quite a challenge as we have been under the drought conditions and have still been scraping ice off the windscreen in May.

“We are already thinking of ideas for next year as it will be 100 years of Chelsea, so that will be a big event.

“It was an amazing show with a lot of colour. It’s a nice feeling for people to walk in and see what has been achieved.

“Anne is an amazing plants woman, she has helped us during the build up to Chelsea as well, so it was a bit of a family get together too.”

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