Australians win show garden prize
An Australian team has won the best show garden prize for the first time in the Chelsea Flower Show's 100-year-history - with one of its members celebrating by stripping off and going for an impromptu swim.
The Trailfinders Australian Garden by Fleming's Nurseries, which features plants native to the country and demonstrates sustainable landscaping in an urban setting, was also awarded a gold medal, being praised by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) for its attention to detail.
One of the 18 volunteers, who had flown in from the other side of the world to spend hours putting the design together, was so delighted by the historic win that he jumped into a natural pool - or billabong - in the centre of the garden, wearing only his underwear.
Tim Wilkinson was pictured in the chilly water proudly clutching the Best in Show plate awarded for the design, despite temperatures being somewhat colder than what he would be used to back home.
Cheers from the exultant Australians could be heard throughout the show site during the afternoon, an RHS spokeswoman said. She added: "They were so ecstatic at winning the best in show that one of their team members decided to go for a swim in the billabong. We're overjoyed that they are so pleased about the award. We can still hear them cheering now."
Bob Sweet, RHS head of judging, said: "RHS Chelsea Flower Show stands for the highest levels of horticultural excellence, and the exhibitors this year have demonstrated an unrivalled level of knowledge and ability. To be able to deliver gardens at the peak of perfection in a year when the growing conditions have been so challenging is extraordinary.
"The achievement of Fleming's is fantastic. The attention to detail and evocative feel of Australia is a great tribute to the skill of the designers, growers and landscapers who have contributed to their garden."
The garden is the ninth - and final - design to be presented by Fleming's Nurseries, based in Victoria, Australia, at Chelsea Flower Show.
Garden designer Phillip Johnson, of Phillip Johnson landscapes, said the best in show medal was the "Olympics of the horticulture world". He said: "We couldn't be more proud of what we have achieved - it's been an incredible experience. We came here with a very ambitious vision - to showcase Australia, our horticultural industry and to educate the world on the possibilities of sustainable landscape design.
"This presented challenges from the other side of the world, but we knew we only had one chance to make the impact necessary to educate, and that's what we have done."