This year, British greenhouse and glasshouse manufacturer Hartley Botanic is celebrating a landmark 80th anniversary.
The Lancashire-based business, which was founded in 1938 by brothers Vincent (RHS fellow) and Norman Hartley has been making its handmade and bespoke aluminium greenhouses and glasshouses for 80 years, working from the same artisan factory beneath the base of the dramatic Pennines’ Chew Valley. Its history as a business and the provenance of its garden structures are the inspiration behind its RHS Chelsea Flower Show trade stand and will be symbolically mirrored in displays which tell the historic stories of plants well known to British gardeners.
Hartley Botanic’s 2018 RHS Chelsea trade stand will feature four of the manufacturer’s handmade greenhouses and glasshouses, as well as a limited edition structure commissioned to mark its 80th anniversary. Each greenhouse will be filled with individually designed planting schemes, providing glass-framed vignettes for visitors.
Plants to be showcased on the stand will be diverse, ranging from woodland species such as Thalictrum and Actea to exotic orchids and fragile-looking Lewisia alpines. Most of the plant species to be featured on the stand are already known and enjoyed by British gardeners but all have rich, interesting origins– it is hoped that by sharing their historic stories, these plants will become more valued and prized to visitors, as well as encouraging further discovery around plant origins and provenance.
Up-and-coming West Lancashire based garden designer Lee Burkhill of ‘the Garden Ninja’ has been chosen to design the stand, along with landscaping delivered by Gareth Wilson of Derbyshire’s G.K. Wilson landscape services. It is Lee’s first time designing for Chelsea after winning the BBC’s 2016 Feel Good Garden competition at RHS Hampton Court with his Manchester-themed Show Garden. Landscapers G.K. Wilson are multi Royal Horticultural Society award winners with a legacy of medal-worthy gardens across the RHS’s various flower shows, including Golds at RHS Chatsworth and RHS Hampton Court last year.
Hartley Botanic managing director Tom Barry said: “The stand will challenge visitors to take a second look at plants they are hugely familiar with, to gain a deeper appreciation and respect through learning about well-known plants’ provenance and history. In the same way, our 80th anniversary this year draws attention to the history and heritage which lies behind a modern Hartley Botanic greenhouse. Aesthetically, our horticultural structures are incredibly beautiful, but it is the 80 years of engineering expertise, craftsmanship and enduring commitment to artisan production which reveals their true quality and worth.”
The stand’s designer Lee Burkhill added: “We are thrilled to have been chosen to design Hartley Botanic’s 2018 Chelsea stand, and I am particularly pleased to be working with one of the North’s best landscapers. Gareth and I will be looking to ‘break the mould’ this year with our combined design energy and plant enthusiasm, creating something that’s a true feast for the senses!”