Matthew's Brighter Blooms are on virtual Chelsea

This year’s Chelsea flower show may have been cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic, but one outstanding county nursery will still be basking in the show’s spotlight.

Matthew Smith of Brighter Blooms nursery at Walton le Dale, near Preston is delighted to be appearing in a “virtual Chelsea”.

The RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) will be featuring him on Friday in a special online showcase for the famous event.

Usually Chelsea is one of the main dates in Matthew’s horticultural calendar and one which provides a business boost. Indeed in the six years he has previously shown his colourful zantedeschia plants he has gained five gold medals in a row.

Matthew Smith pictured with zantedeschias at Brighter Blooms in Walton-Le-Dale

The nursery will be the subject of one of the ”inspirational articles” the RHS is putting online for Chelsea 2020.

He said: “In the first year I got a silver gilt. For us Chelsea is such a big showcase for our plants, losing it is quite dramatic, so the fact the RHS is supporting us by creating a platform means there is some content supported by a very big organisation.The RHS has a lot of reach and is very well respected and supported, that gives us that extra exposure hopefully.”

Matthew, who trained at Myerscough College, near Preston, has grown 13,500 zantedeschias this year and usually attends shows including the Malvern Spring Show, Harrogate, Chatsworth, Hampton Court, Tatton, Southport and Chorley shows.

Now, as his nursery never opens to the public except for special events, (tulip weekend and potato days), he will be looking to sell his plants online and wholesale to other nurseries.The zantedeschias can be grown in containers or the ground and can still be planted to bloom this summer. But they must be brought under cover over winter in Lancashire.

Matthew pictured in one of the glasshouses at Brighter Blooms

Fact File

Zantedeschia plants are also knows as Calla lilies, although Matthew stresses they are nothing like lilies and grow from rhizomes.

This year Matthew was due to release two new varieties at Chelsea: Stingray which he describes as “a deep purple centre fading out to slightly pinky purple at the edge” and Mellow Yellow which is a light buttery yellow.

He sells 18 varieties, but had grown 40 for the show season to show their range. He said: “The different colours are the amazing thing about them, they come in such a range.”