The Brewin Dolphin Garden 2016
With less than 70 days to go - first sighting of our Chelsea Plants – 9 March 2016.
The designers for the Chelsea flower show gardens were announced by the RHS way back in November 2015. Since then, journalists and prospective Chelsea flower show visitors alike are all keen to gain some insight into the plans and construction of the Brewin Dolphin Chelsea RHS Garden 2016 which is being created by Rosy Hardy, already the most successful individual female exhibitor to date.
As we get closer to the Show in May 2016, Brewin Dolphin is introducing the plans and build of the garden. The latest of these ‘behind the scenes’ has been a media presentation and private tour of both the nursery and Brewin Dolphin’s hospitality partner, Coates & Seely Winery. For the press who joined the day, this was an intimate way to introduce the inspiration, colour and planting plans at the nursery situated in Hampshire. From there, the guests went on to an additional tour of the winery, near Overton. Both the nursery and winery are situated in the English North Hampshire Downs, around the chalk downlands and slopes of the River Test.
Tour of Hardy’s cottage garden nursery
The seven journalist guests included those from Horticulture Week, the Daily Telegraph, The RHS journal The Garden and several leading freelance writers. At Hardy’s cottage garden, an herbaceous perennial nursery owned by Rosy and her husband Robert, this was the first step in witnessing seedlings and the first signs of those more than 6000 show plants Rosy is currently growing for the Brewin Dolphin garden.
The morning tour followed Rosy through her personal walk-through into the propagation area, the potting shed and then a series of poly tunnels - each one at a different temperature and containing plants at different stages. Rosy explained about the irrigation system and the process of looking after so many plants for the Chelsea Garden and the challenge of ensuring that all plants are perfect in time for one week in May. This was our first sighting of the Rosy Shimmers, as the seedlings came through.
The inspiration for The Brewin Dolphin garden is the glorious chalky landscape that surrounds the neighbouring River Test, which in itself is just about the most perfect example of a chalk stream. The underlying message of the Brewin Dolphin garden is one of conservation and stewardship of this precious resource, given the level of threat that these chalk streams face. Rosie has said that it is from her morning walks with her dog that she gained the inspiration and plans for the Brewin garden.
From gardens to a vineyard: Hardy’s to Coates & Seely
The geological make-up of this Hampshire chalk landscape complements that of the Champagne region of France and as a result several English wineries have sprung up in recent years. Brewin Dolphin has partnered with multi award-winning English sparkling wine producers Coates and Seely to be the purveyors of sparkling wines for client functions and events. The beautiful vineyard is almost neighbouring Hardy’s cottage garden, near the villages of Whitchurch and Overton.
Next stop was lunch at the home of Virginia and Nick Coates, co-owners of Coates and Seely. We were treated to a marvellous lunch prepared by Virginia, a Leith’s trained chef, with a menu that consisted of delicious canapés most of which drew on a local provenance. A selection of the vineyard’s wines and magnificent rosé complemented the food. Host Nick Coates led an exclusive tour, explaining why the chalk terroir creates wine of such outstanding quality in England. Even the French are buying up land in Hampshire it seems with recent acquisitions by leading champagne house Tattinger.
Nick talked about the history of the vineyard including the laborious task of hand planting around 150,000 vines and expounded on the production process. Our guests were able to observe the aluminium presses and the rather interesting and organic ‘looking’ concrete eggs. The bottle room was stacked up to the ceiling with thousands upon thousands of bottles of glorious wine.
The English weather did not disappoint – but rain and sunshine didn’t detract from a full day out, allowing all of our guests to understand the footprint for our garden in the making, and how the River Test flows through this and our prospective hospitality as we count down to RHS Chelsea 2016.