Distribution firm helps Ripon nursery aim for gold at Chelsea

Robin Graham (left), owner of Drointon Nurseries in Ripon, with Sam Walton of Reed Boardall.
Robin Graham (left), owner of Drointon Nurseries in Ripon, with Sam Walton of Reed Boardall.

Boroughbridge-based company Reed Boardall has taken on an unusual assignment this week – in the name of floral excellence.

The temperature-controlled distribution company, whose core business is storing and delivering frozen foods to the UK’s supermarkets, is transporting 300 potentially prize-winning plants for a specialist nursery in Ripon which is going for gold at Chelsea this weekend.

Family-run Drointon Nurseries, one of only two specialist growers of Primula auricula in the country, is entering RHS Chelsea Flower Show for the second year running, and, having won a silver medal at last year’s show, it has its sights on gold. It will also be using the show to exhibit its new variety ‘Charlotte’, named in honour of the new princess.

“What began as my wife’s hobby has turned into a thriving business over the last 15 years or so and having won prizes at a number of shows including Harrogate and Malvern, we were persuaded to try our hand at Chelsea for the first time last year,” said nursery owner Robin Graham.

“Unfortunately, auriculas do not cope well in warm temperatures and the hot spell of weather last May meant that our plants were looking rather stressed by the time they reached the judging and we felt that this cost us the gold medal.

“This year, we decided we would only enter if we could be confident that the plants would not suffer on the long journey from Ripon and would arrive in London in perfect condition. Thanks to Reed Boardall, our auriculas will be in show-ready condition for the judging – no matter what the weather.”

Reed Boardall has transported 300 auriculas to Chelsea, 180 of which will be selected to be showcased on Drointon Nurseries’ stand in the Great Pavilion.

Howard Gill, managing director of Reed Boardall Transport, said: “Transporting prize-winning auriculas is an unusual assignment for us as the majority of our business is in the food sector, but the principles remain the same – the plants need to be kept at their optimum temperate to ensure they reach their destination unspoiled, much like ice-cream or frozen chips.

“It’s great to be able to support a local business and see them gain national recognition in their field; fingers crossed that they return to North Yorkshire with the coveted gold medal!”