We won a bronze medal, much to our surprise. It is the first time we have ever attempted a huge exhibition, usually
There were …(500?) exhibitors at Hampton Court and I didn’t think we had a prayer of winning. But then people were praying. I think our beautiful Country Rose bride Flora Neville, daughter of the Vicar of Forham (who was definitely praying) and grand-daughter of the architect Quinlan Terry, who was wearing a divine Jane Bourvis vintage wedding dress as Titania in her magic wood, might have swayed the judges a little. Rupert Ely told me, amused and I like to think intrigued, they had never had a ‘living being’ as part of the exhibit before, and the judges told Flora she was ‘making RHS history’. As she was indeed the spirit of Country Rose Weddings it seemed a good omen!
Fittingly, on Monday, press day, Judi Dench, whose poster from the Royal Shakespeare Company's performance of Midsummer Night's Dream in the early Sixties featured her impudent smiling face as Titania and swung above our stand - came to receive a rose.
On Wednesday night, July .. the BBC showed their film of us, shot the previous week in our rose gardens, showing Flora collecting fresh petals, me cutting for a wedding, my brilliant head pickers, Vanessa and Lynn, preparing and packing rose orders as they went out from our barns. On Wednesday morning Rachel de Thame came to interview me on our stand and on Thursday night it went out on Gardeners World as a special from Hampton Court.
From this ten day marathon have come requests, parties, weddings, bouquets – so we are now battling the elements again to make sure our roses are up and running again from their July lull, between the first flush and the next. They are comin on in the greenhouse, used last weekend as a concert hall, and in the fields this rain has helped combat the dry heatwave of the weeks before.
See more photos from Hampton Court here!