Fetzer Vineyards have released 500 ladybirds onto their gold medal winning show garden to demonstrate the benefits of attracting insects and wildlife to the garden.
Five-year-old Holly, dressed as a ladybird herself, set the insects free on the flower-filled garden, densely planted with Californian wildflowers by designer Kate Frey.
Kate is passionate about organic gardening and has managed Fetzer’s organic, environmentally-friendly vineyard in California for 20 years. Her show garden sets out to encourage people to garden with wildlife and sustainability in mind.
“Methods that encourage wildlife encourage healthy gardens, healthy soil and healthy plants,” says Kate. “But also there’s the wonderful life you can bring into your garden - not just because it’s doing the right thing, but because of the vitality that all these insects and butterflies bring too.”
The borders, specifically designed to attract insects, are already buzzing with hoverflies, bees and other six-legged Chelsea visitors. Kate has used 83 species of wild plants in the garden, with only four cultivated ones. All are chosen for their ability to withstand drought conditions, and grow happily in the heat of California - so they should survive even a globally-warmed British summer with ease.
Here come the crowds
The general public gets to see the RHS Chelsea Flower Show for the first time today as the gates are opened to non-RHS members. The day has dawned fine and sunny again, continuing a run of good weather at the show.
Florists and floral artists have been staging their exhibits all night ready for the opening of the second session of the floristry and floral art competitions this morning. The theme for the floristry competition this year is bridal bouquets - the first time this branch of floristry has been exhibited at Chelsea.
Floral artists - who are amateurs, either individuals or flower arranging clubs - can choose from three themes; 'Night at the Opera', 'Floral Profusion', or 'To Stir the Senses'. Both groups are judged and find out what medals they've won later this morning.