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Now that the final RHS show of the year has come to a close, it feels like the perfect time to sit back and take stock of all the incredible experiences we’ve shared over the course of the 2023 show season.
From Hampton to Malvern, Sandringham to Wisley, the team has travelled the length and breadth of the country showcasing the very best of British craftsmanship. Along the way, we have been honoured to meet with Rhino owners, new, established and future, sharing in the one thing that brings us all together, the love of gardening.
And there is, of course, one major event from spring/summer 2023 that cannot go unmentioned, and that’s the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. If you joined us there or followed along with our communications at the time, then perhaps you know the concept…
But now let us share the story.
Our Chelsea Story
It was late February of this year when we received confirmation that we were invited to exhibit a show stand at RHS Chelsea. As a team, it was something we had dreamed of for years, but the excitement was muddied with anxiety. There was so much to do, so much to consider. Could we even achieve our desired stand in only a few short months?
Sometimes with the lack of time comes a heightened sense of clarity. Throwing ideas around for months on end was a luxury we just didn’t have.
The theme had to feel instinctive, intuitive and intrinsically Rhino. It was at that point we stopped thinking and started looking around us… and therein came our inspiration.
“Inspired by beaches, from the windswept sands of our home county Norfolk, to the rugged Jurassic Coast; our garden paid homage to the shorelines of the Great British Isles and the elements that weather and mould them.”
At Rhino, we are so proud of our Norfolk heritage, it’s what fuelled our desire to design the strongest, most robust of greenhouses on the market. One that could take on the tempestuous North Sea winds… and win. And all across the British Isles and beyond it’s why so many others choose Rhino, including Rhino ambassador and celebrity chef, Gill Meller. Hailing from the windswept shores of Lyme Regis, he shared in our vision to create an ode to the Great British coastline. A coastline that changes daily and yet is unchanged by time.
And Time & Tide was born.
So, we now had a theme. The next step was to find a garden designer who could adapt it into both a concept and a reality. It was then that we were introduced to Tommy and Rea Hill from Rose Hill Design & Build.
From our very initial conversation, we knew we’d found our perfect pairing. Tommy and Rea not only ran with the concept we presented, but invited new and exciting ideas to it, like the use of reclaimed materials and littoral planting, evolving it into a garden design that far surpassed our wildest imaginings.
You’ve stumbled upon an oasis of calm that stills both the whistling wind around you and the crashing waves beyond. Utilising reclaimed materials, the space is adorned with coastal treasures; weathered, bleached boards, rusted steel, stone, rope and sailcloth.
But there’s the practical side of Chelsea too. The stands have strict safety guidelines they must adhere to and RHS will want to see safe and easy access in and out of the stand. With Tommy and Rea at the helm we felt safe in the knowledge that our tradestand would not only look visually incredible, but that it would meet all the safety criteria necessary.
“On a windswept spring day by the shoreline, you seek refuge from the biting sea breeze. There’s a structure up ahead.
It’s a greenhouse.
The juxtaposition of the glass structure amongst the wild setting surprises you, yet it stands unfazed and unmoved by the elements. You venture closer.”
So, of course, the main focus of the garden was always going to be a Rhino greenhouse. But which one?
Space was somewhat limited but still we wanted to achieve a deceptively capacious oasis. With that in mind, the extra eave height offered by a Rhino Ultimate made it the perfect choice.
Next, we needed to choose the colour. Designed to blend seamlessly into nature, any one of our unique Rhino shades could have worked with our coastal theme. Perhaps we accentuate the natural hues of the sea and sky with Blue Grass or Silver Sage… Or maybe we opt for a more industrial look with Midnight Slate or Plain Aluminium.
It was however the earthy, natural tones of our Clay Grey shade melting so effortlessly into the shingle and rock that made it a clear winner..
Now that the garden was progressing along nicely and it was time to start thinking about the Neptunian treasures that would bring it all together.
We were delighted to collaborate with an incredible selection of British companies, big and small. Plans For Plants and Hortus Loci provided us with coastal inspired planting, whilst Weather It created the sea kissed corten steel features throughout. Last but by no means least, Coastal Exploration Company provided us with the now perhaps most iconic part of our garden, the repurposed sailcloth.
“There is a seating area to rest a weary body and a food preparation and cooking area to refuel on foraged goods.”
Gill Meller created for us a delicious recipe inspired by the zesty freshness of the ocean and was on hand to demonstrate its cookery over hot coals.
The show week arrived in a wave of emotions, all of which gave way to pride when we saw the finished showstand.
Everything had come together in the most harmonious of ways, creating a kind of secret oasis that felt entirely cut off from the world… quite a feat in the middle of one of the world’s biggest horticultural events…
And the time, dedication and craftsmanship of all involved were rewarded when we were handed a 5-star tradestand award from the RHS. A magical end to a truly special show.
Special thanks to: rosehilldesign.co.uk, Matt Austin, Gill Meller, Plans for Plants, Hortus Loci, Weather It, & Coastal Exploration Company
"A beach is not only a sweep of sand, but shells of sea creatures, the sea glass, the seaweed, the incongruous objects washed up by the ocean." - Henry Grunwald