THORNCROFT CLEMA­TIS

EDP Norfolk - - Gardens -

At Thorncroft Clema­tis, both the Chelsea stand and the nurs­ery it­self are very much a fam­ily af­fair. The nurs­ery started with Ruth Gooch’s fa­ther Ge­off Tolver, and in the past few years Ruth and hus­band Jonathan have handed on the reins to their son Peter, al­though all three are still very much in­volved in Chelsea.

“It’s vi­tal to our busi­ness as a pre­dom­i­nantly mail-order nurs­ery,” ex­plains Peter. “It gen­er­ates a huge amount of in­ter­est in us and in clema­tis gen­er­ally, and that is on-go­ing through­out the year.”

Last year saw a new look to the dis­play, with a ground-level, walk-in area in­cor­po­rat­ing a rus­tic gar­den shed, as well as the massed clema­tis dis­play which has been their sig­na­ture fea­ture for many years. The shed was cre­ated by Jonathan, made to store not only hand­bags, lunches and a few thou­sand cat­a­logues, but also cre­ated with a false bot­tom to store the sev­eral hun­dred bam­boo canes which sup­port the plants in growth and in tran­sit to the show. “We take them off to go on the stand,” says Jonathan. “But when we sell the plants off at the end of the week, peo­ple un­der­stand­ably want their plant on a cane so they have to go back on.”

Feed­back from both judges and pub­lic was en­thu­si­as­tic last year, so the shed is mak­ing a reap­pear­ance for 2016, and the trio are look­ing for­ward to this year, af­ter a nail-bit­ing start wait­ing for their show ac­cep­tance. “It’s never a fore­gone con­clu­sion,” says Peter. “Ap­par­ently there has been a bit of a shake-up this year, but we were lucky, and now we’re right back on track.”

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