Britain's national sailing team, Skandia Team GBR, has inspired a gold medal winning garden designer to create a Chelsea Flower Show garden in their honour. The first ever Chelsea garden to be inspired by a sporting team.
Sailing is tipped to be Britain's best hope for Olympic success this year, with the sailors bringing home more medals for the country than any other sport for the past two Games.
Hillier Nurseries, which has won 62 consecutive gold medals at Chelsea, is launching a Sail for Gold garden, designed to celebrate the achievements of Britain's most successful sporting team. Created by Andrew McIndoe, Hillier's deputy managing director and Chelsea garden designer, hopes are high that this garden will gain him his 18th consecutive gold at the world famous garden showcase.
The garden uses salt-washed timber, stone, glass, water and sails with grasses and coastal plants planted in drifts and waves. Features include circular paving in tones of gold, silver and bronze inspired by sailing and Chelsea medals.
Movement and sound are introduced into the garden with water cascading down a spectacular glass sail sculpture. Skandia Team GBR's patriotic colours will also be incorporated into the garden, with the use of red floribunda roses, frothy white spiraeas and blue ceanothus, against a backdrop of brightly painted beach huts.
Andrew McIndoe, who travelled to Portugal in 2007 to see Skandia Team GBR competing at the World Championships in Cascais, commented: 'The great advantage of designing a garden inspired by a world outside horticulture is that there is nothing to copy - you have a blank canvas.'
Iain Percy, who won Olympic gold in 2000 and who competes in the Star class, the oldest class in Olympic competition, commented:
'It's an honour for Skandia Team GBR to be associated with Hillier, one of the most renowned gardens competing at the Chelsea Flower Show. One of the well-known secrets to our sailing success in Britain is the fact that we have a really tight team behind the scenes, supporting each and every one of us in our quest for medals at the Games.
I know that Hillier have a lot of people behind the scenes working month in and month out to ensure the garden performs on the day, looking great when it's opened at Chelsea, much the same as we do for our top regattas. I'm looking forward to seeing the garden in its full glory!'
Before the sailors who have been selected to represent Britain at the forthcoming Olympic games leave for China, they will attend the RHS Chelsea Flower Show Press Day on Monday 19 May, and be available at 10:30 at the Sail for Gold Garden located at GPD14, the Monument site in the Great Pavilion. Based in Hampshire, Hillier Nurseries was founded in 1864 and has won Gold Medals at the Chelsea Flower Show every year since 1945. A family-owned and managed company, Hillier runs a hardy plants nursery, the UK's largest tree nursery and a network of 13 garden centres with a focus on plant range and quality and gardening advice. Hillier Gardening Club has the largest membership of any garden society other than the RHS with 190,000 members.