Hillier will return to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in May 2017 on a mission to achieve its 72nd consecutive gold medal, furthering its title as Chelsea’s most successful exhibitor in the show’s history.
To help achieve this, Hillier has called upon the services of the 2016 RHS Young Designer of the Year, Caitlin McLaughlin, who will be working alongside lead designer Sarah Eberle throughout the design detailing.
Caitlin, 26, is an award-winning garden designer based in Northamptonshire. She has always had an interest in horticulture and garden design, which led her to a degree and Masters in conservation, and then to the Natural History Museum and Kew Gardens to work in plant sciences and conservation, which ultimately led her to form her own garden design practice.
Despite her young age, Caitlin has already amassed a considerable portfolio of garden design projects. In the summer of 2016, she received a gold medal for her ‘Nature and Nurture’ show garden at RHS Flower Show Tatton Park, where she was also awarded the prestigious RHS Young Designer of the Year accolade.
Combining her passions for garden design and conservation, Caitlin aims to create spaces that benefit both people and nature and ensures her designs are environmentally conscious where possible – something which will play a large part in her element of the Hillier Chelsea garden.
Discussing her involvement with Hillier, Caitlin enthused: “Working with Hillier and Sarah on a garden at the Chelsea Flower Show is a dream come true and such an amazing opportunity. With each meeting, I am learning so much about the processes involved in creating a Chelsea exhibit, and the mentorship and support from both the Hillier team and Sarah has been so great. I can’t wait for everyone to see what we are creating and am so proud I am able to be involved.”
Caitlin will be assisting Sarah Eberle, who is Hillier’s lead designer for the second year running. With 35 years’ experience in the landscape industry, Sarah is one of the most accomplished and highly regarded architects and garden designers working in Britain today. She is considered one of the best in her field and is Chelsea’s most decorated designer, having won 13 golds medals. So it was unsurprising that Hillier asked her back to design the 2017 garden!
Sarah has a long and close association with Hillier, both personally and professionally. She won a gold with Hillier at Chelsea in 2016 in the Great Pavilion making her not only the most decorated designer, but also the winner in more categories than any other in Chelsea history. Sarah commented: “Working with Hillier again is something which I am very proud of. I started my show garden career with Hillier in the early 1990’s and they were instrumental in teaching me the craft of building a successful show garden. What goes around comes around!”
With over 150 years’ of history and experience behind the company, Hillier is a champion of new talent and ensuring future generations are supported in horticulture. The family run business is itself a testament to this as it is now run by the fifth generation of the Hillier family, with family members actively involved in the business from the ground up.
George Hillier commented: “At Hillier we are avid champions of new horticultural talent and want to support future generations, which is why we are so delighted to be working with Caitlin. We took a new direction at last year’s show and, following the success of that, we are thrilled to be working with Sarah Eberle again. We are incredibly excited about the design that Sarah and Caitlin have created – details of which will be revealed in the New Year.”
Hillier has been involved in RHS Chelsea Flower Show from the show’s formative years and is the most successful exhibitor in the show’s history with a record 71 consecutive RHS Chelsea Gold medals.