Alan Titchmarsh in digs with Waitrose and National Farming Union

Press Release   •   May 19, 2014 09:55 BST

Alan, who has his own gardening range at Waitrose, visited the display of flowers, plants, vegetables and fruit, which have been brought together to support British farming after a difficult winter for thousands of Farmers. Waitrose will be aiming to receive their fourth Gold medal in a row, the NFU, their 18th consecutive Gold.

Those wishing to recreate the display will be able to buy everything in-store from Waitrose, nothing has been grown especially for the show.

Emma Coupe, Horticulture Buying Manager for Waitrose says; “We’re excited to be here for a fourth year with our gardening ambassador, Alan Titchmarsh, making an appearance at our display. We hope that the creation will inspire visitors to have a go at getting creative with not just plants and flowers, but with vegetables and fruit too.”

In February, Somerset Levels-based willow grower Jonathan Coate would not have dared imagine he would be showcasing his produce on a world-stage.

But despite battling fields which were left under 10ft of water, Mr Coat and the near 200-year-old family business will be joining dozens of UK growers who have contributing to this year’s NFU and Waitrose display at RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

“The floods made running the business extremely difficult. Having our land under water for four months took a big chunk out of any production cycle, which has been a huge challenge,” said Mr Coate, whose team has created a stunning Union Flag and baskets for this year’s display.

“It shows English craftsmanship at its best, and also that it’s very much alive, and we are all absolutely thrilled to have come through this challenge and be part of this impressive showcase of the best of British produce.”

But it’s not just the Coate family that has struggled with the weather this year – and have still managed to contribute to the display.

NFU horticulture adviser Chris Hartfield said: “While last winter’s weather across much of the UK was unprecedented, it just goes to show how many challenges growers in this country can face in getting world-class produce, plants and flowers onto our shelves.

“What makes it more incredible and unique, is that nothing on our display is grown specifically for the show. We’ve just bought together the same British fruit, vegetables, flowers and plants that the public can go and buy right now from supermarkets and stores across the country.”

A number of growers are supplying the NFU and Waitrose display this year, including: Barfoots in West Sussex, Wight Salad Group in Isle of Wight, Berry Gardens in Kent, Valley Grown Salads in Kent, Butters in Lincolnshire, Marshall Brothers in Lincolnshire and many more.

Everyone who works at Waitrose owns Waitrose, and that's why we care a little more.

Fresh, quality food is at the heart of what we do. As Waitrose partners, we want to know where our food comes from, how it’s been produced and what it contains.

It all starts with long-term relationships with our farmers and suppliers, and continues with our beliefs in championing British produce, supporting responsible sourcing, treating people fairly and treading lightly on the environment. This is the Waitrose Way.

But it doesn’t stop there. With your help in branch and online, our Community Matters scheme has donated £14 million to local charities chosen by you. The Waitrose Foundation is a partnership we created in 2005 to help improve the lives of the farm workers and smallholders who grow our produce in South Africa, Kenya and Ghana. The Waitrose Foundation is just one example of how we work in partnership with our suppliers to build sustainable relationships, helping our customers get the best possible food and drink.