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Chelsea Flower Show to feature fake grass in show garden

Tony Smith - Chelsea Flower Show - Easigrass Garden The Royal Horticultural Society has announced that for the first time it will permit the use of artificial grass at the Chelsea Flower Show this year. Last year Plasticine, this year fake grass.... what ever next?

Tony Smith's Easigrass Garden, the Urban Plantaholics Kitchen Garden, will incorporate artificial turf as an architectural feature so as not to contravene show rules on the use of plant material.

RHS head of shows development Bob Sweet confirmed that it is a first for artificial turf to be featured in a Chelsea garden despite the strict rules.

"It is the first time we have allowed artificial plant material in an exhibit. It is just about permissible. As the RHS, we have to advocate using real plants." Unless it is grass and lawns!

Smith told Hort Week his original plans for an Easigrass show garden were rejected for being too "out there" but that he was pleased that the "more sensible option" urban garden had been accepted.

He has become known for his exuberant conceptual designs after hitting headlines with the Quilted Velvet garden featuring 10,000 pink impatiens at last year's show.

The synthetic grass in question is Easigrass premium brand Mayfair which features 63 colours, and even features thatch.

Smith said: "It explains why I am prepared to put my reputation on the line and use artificial grass at a show like Chelsea. Regardless of the fact they are paying for it, it is a great product and shows how far artificial grass has come in recent years."

Read more on Hort Week

Advocates of beautiful lawns had infiltrated the 2007 Chelsea Flower Show to hand out their own awards for natural perfect turf.

The Lawn Society has been assessing the quality of the turf at the show since 2007. Mike Seaton, of the Lawn Society, decided to judge the turf because he felt that it was ignored at Chelsea. Lawns are very much the poor relation at the show, where flowers, trees and wild grasses are preferred. The lawn market is worth £400 million each year in Britain yet few designers make lawns a central feature of exhibits at the show.

Bob Sweet, welcomed the enthusiasm for turf and said at the time that a competition for lawns could be considered in the future. He pointed out that where show gardens included lawns, the quality of the turf was a key factor in the judging.

He said: “To be able to lay good turf for a show is notoriously difficult. I’m delighted that the gardens and exhibits at the show are being looked at more closely by a specialist. We have a team of advisers here to answer the public’s questions about gardening issues and lawns always get the highest number of queries and inquiries.”

Read more on Turf Wars at Chelsea Show over lack of garden lawns

Related Topics

Royal Horticultural Society
Chelsea Flower Show 2010
The Lawn Society

Image: Tony Smith

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