Gardeners do East Durham proud at RHS Chelsea Flower Show

John Peace with his award-winning RHS Chelsea Flower Show exhibit
John Peace with his award-winning RHS Chelsea Flower Show exhibit

TWO gardeners have done East Durham proud with their ground-breaking exhibits at one of the world’s biggest horticultural shows.

John Peace, the parks and facilities manager at Blackhall-based Monk Hesleden Parish Council, has scooped his second gold at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

And Rebecca Hough, from the Pennine Drive area of Peterlee, also picked up a gold after being one of five florists hand-picked to create Interflora’s exhibit at the top event.

It is the second Chelsea gold for John, 56, of Briardene Way in Easington Colliery.

He won silver gilts in 2011 and 2012, before striking gold last year.

He was backed by a team of seven friends who helped him put together his innovative solar system-themed display of chrysanthemums, including recently-retired Peterlee police officer Cliff Down and Hartlepool businessman Paddy Webb.

John, who is the promotions manager for The National Chrysanthemum Society, said: “The theme depicts the solar system, with a big yellow sun in the middle.

“The judges loved it.”

Dad-of-two John started planning his design last May and added: “We weren’t sure how they would take it, but the risk paid off.”

Around 160,000 visitors will have passed through the event, including celebrities and Royalty.

American model and actress Jerry Hall and TV presenter Sophie Raworth stopped to chat about John’s design.

Rebecca, 25, who has worked in a Hartlepool florist’s, said she saw the Queen on Monday and added: “To get gold is fantastic, it’s absolutely brilliant.

“People have been quite interested in our exhibit.”

Rebecca, who won a silver gilt in the Young Florist of the Year section of the show last year, created one of the suspended wire frames on the Interflora exhibit and her section of the piece included vanda orchids, craspedia, calla lillies and various grasses.