Yeo Valley Organic wins a RHS gold at first autumn Chelsea Flower Show
Yeo Valley wins RHS Gold Medal at the Chelsea Flower Show 2021. Designed by Tom Massey, supported by the family-owned dairy company’s Sarah Mead, the garden is inspired by the real Yeo Valley organic garden and farm at Blagdon, Somerset. It highlights the benefits of organic gardening and how taking small steps to work with nature, makes a positive impact on wildlife and plant biodiversity.
The show garden mirrors the diversity of life found on Yeo Valley’s organic dairy farm and garden in Somerset. The 6.5-acre Yeo Valley Organic Garden in Blagdon has been lovingly created by Sarah over the past 25 years and is one of the largest organically certified ornamental gardens in the UK. Key features recreated at Chelsea include a wild perennial meadow brimming with flowering plants and a glade of silver birch.
Its focal point is a steam-bent egg-shaped wooden hide, designed and created by celebrated Cornish sculptor Tom Raffield, which has a glass floor to see the running stream beneath. Another stand out feature are the charred logs, which will be turned into biochar after the show, highlighting the importance of soil health and returning carbon to the earth. The garden was built by contractor Landscape Associates and the plants were grown organically by Hortus Loci.
Massey’s second show garden at RHS Chelsea
It is Tom Massey’s second show garden at RHS Chelsea, having created the Lemon Tree Trust Garden in 2018, but his first Gold at the show. Having originally designed the garden for Chelsea in 2020 May, Tom saw it as an exciting opportunity to modify the planting plan to suit a later time of the year. The result is a skilled tapestry of late summer perennials such as rudbeckia, kniphofia and heleniums; a gauzy haze of ornamental grasses; and trees and shrubs in full fruit such as medlar and rose.
Reacting to the medal win, which was announced on Tuesday 21st September, the first day of the show, Tom Massey said: “I’m absolutely delighted to win Gold at the first and only September Chelsea. We created this garden to showcase organic and it’s a win for the whole team. I’ve loved working with Sarah and Tim from Yeo Valley Organic and this is testament to their commitment to sustainable farming and growing. Rich Curle and his landscaping team have worked so hard to make this garden happen, and I’m just thrilled with what we’ve all achieved.”
Sustainable organic principals
Sarah Mead: “I had no idea until the moment arrived how much winning Gold would mean. Of course, we didn’t come to Chelsea for the medal – we came to showcase what can be achieved using fully sustainable organic principles – but to have won a Gold Medal with a garden that feels so appropriate to Yeo Valley at this time of year is an absolute thrill. I can’t thank Tom and his brilliant team enough – it’s been an absolute pleasure from start to finish, and let’s face it, it’s been a much longer journey than we ever expected!”
As Britain’s largest organic brand, Yeo Valley Organic considers the environmental impact of everything it does and taking the garden to and from Chelsea is no exception. All plants will be re-homed back at Yeo Valley after the show. The hard landscaping materials, including biochar logs, are coming from and returning to the farm, while the sculptural ‘egg’ will be installed in pride of place in Sarah’s gravel garden for visitors to enjoy into the future.
For full information about the garden visit: yeovalley.co.uk/chelsea
Photo credit: Britt Willoughby Dyer.