An award-winning Freefolk plant nursery has been forced to forego its chance at a final hurrah at the Chelsea Flower Show after the event was rescheduled.

Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants has said it will not be able to go for a 25th gold medal at the flower show after it was rescheduled from May to September as there is not enough time to grow the hundreds of flowers required for the event in time.

Instead, the nursery is planning to use the flowers it had grown in preparation of May for a special celebration which is soon to be announced.

Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants, based on Priory Lane in Freefolk, was founded by Rosy Hardy, who started growing plants in 1988 in her back garden. Since then, her passion has expanded into a successful plant nursery which has won 24 RHS Gold Medals across the past three decades.

With the 2020 show having been cancelled, Hardy’s was in preparation for the 2021 show, where the planned to go out with a bang with their largest ever show garden. It would have been 160 square metres, featuring an array of spring and summer flowering herbaceous perennials and shrubs which have been grown over the past two years in readiness for the show.

However, the Chelsea Flower Show has now been postponed until September of this year, meaning that the nursery does not have enough time to change its planting scheme so that it can grow enough autumn-flowering plants for the show.

Rosy Hardy said: “We were originally due to have our finale exhibit in 2020 and after the disappointment of that cancellation we agreed to continue for one more year. However, with the postponement of this year’s May Show we have reluctantly made the decision to finally retire from RHS Chelsea.

“We have loved our years exhibiting at RHS Chelsea and have some incredible memories. Stepping down from exhibiting there has been a very difficult decision especially as we had such a wonderful exhibit planned for May with our sponsor Candide. But we know the time is right to step back from the annual pressure we put on ourselves to create a flawless exhibit.

“While we will not be exhibiting again, it’s very much ‘Au Revoir’ to RHS Chelsea, as we will continue to support all our fellow nurseries in the Great Pavilion, many of whom have become life-long friends.”

Instead, the nursery will be putting on a celebration in May using many of the plants which would otherwise have been at Chelsea. More details are to be announced in the coming weeks.

Hardy’s will also continue to exhibit at other gardening shows and plant fairs around the country, while the business will continue to operate out of Freefolk.