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JIS News

It’s Silver Gilt-Flora again for Jamaica at this year’s prestigious Chelsea Flower Show, which got underway yesterday (May 23) in London.
The Silver Gilt-Flora is the premier award in the Silver Gilt category and is the second highest honour offered at Chelsea.
Team leader from the Jamaica Horticultural Society’s Chelsea Group, Gladys Hakansson, told JIS News that the judges were impressed with the quality of the material and theme of the Jamaican display, which was mounted at a cost of some $2 million. “We were praised as it was well executed and the judges said the design was very creative. We had top quality material and our theme was carried out beautifully,” she stated.
The Jamaican exhibit, which featured palms, orchids, ferns, ackee, lignum vitae, bananas, annatto, cassava, mango, jackfruit and sugarcane, was very popular with show goers and the team spent much of the day answering questions and providing information about the range of beautiful flowers, plants and exotic fruits.
“This year’s theme is ‘Tropical Treasures’ and we sought to depict all we have to offer in terms of flowers, fruits and vegetables. We used a small amount of each item to create some amount of excitement because we could not hope to bring everything here,” Mrs. Hakansson said.
She noted that for the display, large baskets were used, with the biggest one being about four feet tall. “We have several others staged creatively. They are our treasure chests from which comes our treasures, our heliconias, our gingers, our ornamental bananas. The stand is bigger than last year’s but I am very happy with the execution. It’s very popular, and people are giving us very positive feedback”.
Noting that staging a display of that magnitude took a lot of preparation, Mrs. Hakansson said the team would start planning for next year’s show as “soon as we get back to Jamaica”.
“It’s an all year thing.it is difficult because of the nature of the material we have to bring here, we can’t bring everything so you have to bring something that stands up (to the travel), things that are hardy; we have to bring variety, and the quantity to stage the design,” she noted further.
The plants, flowers, fruits and foliage used were sourced from Jamaican flower exporters, farmers, members and friends of the Horticultural Society. Despite the hard work in putting the display together, Mrs. Hakansson said the positive exposure to the country was worth the effort.
The annual Chelsea Flower Show, which runs until Saturday (May 27), is staged by the Royal Horticultural Society in London.