Birmingham scoops another Gold at Chelsea

Photographs courtesy of Jas Sansi

Photographs courtesy of Jas Sansi

Birmingham City Council and the Royal British Legion have scooped a Gold award at the prestigious Chelsea Flower Show for their spectacular WW1 themed design – and for the first time won the president’s award for best in show in the grand marquee.

Her Majesty The Queen also paid a visit to the show garden in Chelsea’s giant pavilion yesterday where she was guided through a modern-day floral mock-up of a trench created by gardeners from Birmingham City Council, the Legion and horticulture charity Thrive.

Darren Share, Head of Parks for Birmingham City Council, said: “The team behind Birmingham’s beautiful display has worked incredibly hard to bring home a Gold from Chelsea.

“Staff from Birmingham City Council’s Parks department have worked alongside members of the Royal British Legion and national charity Thrive to create a moving tribute to honour the Servicemen and women who fell in the Great War.

“Not only that but the process of producing the display been helpful to a number of veterans with mental and physical health issues so this award also celebrates the pioneering work that Thrive supports.”

Inspired by the events of WW1, the show-stopping design – made entirely from flowers and sustainable materials – tells a story of battle, from trench warfare to fighting in the skies.

The garden also features floral representations of goods made in Birmingham to help the war effort including Hudson whistles, famously used to signal troops ‘over the top’ of the trenches and the Birmingham Small Arms Company folding bike.

The ‘City of Birmingham’ train, which once transported wounded soldiers to the city’s military hospitals, is seen recreated out of flowers while at the centre, five gigantic poppies will tower above the display to form a waterfall.

The floral display was created with help from national charity THRIVE, which runs a local project in Birmingham which is funded by the Legion and uses horticulture as a route to recovery for veterans with mental and physical health issues. Local veterans designed and built the display which is showcased at the critically-acclaimed flower show this week.

Jane Britton, the Legion’s Area Manager in the West Midlands, said:

“As the nation’s custodian of Remembrance, the Legion has a special role to play in this year’s Centenary commemorations.

“Our Chelsea Flower Show display, in collaboration with Birmingham City Council, is a moving tribute to the men of Birmingham that gave their lives in the Service of our country – and serves as a poignant reminder of the work our brave Servicemen and women do today.

“Formed in 1921 to help those who had suffered as a result of Service in the Great War, the Legion remains as relevant as ever today, spending £1.6million a week delivering welfare services for members of the Armed Forces community most in need.

Following the Chelsea Flower Show the display will be featured at Gardener’s World Live at The National Exhibition Centre from 12-15 June.