Flowers donated by Lidl planted in winning Chelsea Flower Show garden

a group of purple viola flowers
RHS Chelsea: Winning garden featured Lidl flowersPulp Friction

Flowers donated by a local Lidl store were given a new lease of life in a Chelsea Flower Show garden.

Violas were donated to Nottingham-based social enterprise Pulp Friction and used for their Growing Skills Garden by first-time designers Will Dutch and Tin-Tin Azure-Marxen. The flowers were picked up by a couple of volunteers from a local lidl store in Arnold, a market town in Nottingham, as part of a regular surplus food collection.

Pulp Friction CIC works with people who have learning disabilities or autism to help develop their social independence. The garden in the All About Plants category celebrates the work Pulp Friction does to champion the skill, determination and passion of their members, and challenges the perceptions of what they can achieve.

a group of purple viola flowers
Violas donated by Lidl were included in Pulp Friction’s garden at RHS Chelsea 2024 Pulp Friction

‘We collect surplus food from various food stores to ensure it doesn’t go to waste. Instead we sort the food, and utilise it in community meals or in our community cafe. One collection contained these lovely flowers, which suggests they were considered to no longer be sellable within the store, and would have otherwise gone to waste. Instead, we kept the flowers in our community garden in Bestwood, where they were cared for by our members (learning disabled and autistic people) and nursed back to full health,' a spokesperson for Pulp Friction tells House Beautiful.

The vibrant flowers took pride of place in the Growing Skills Garden for RHS Chelsea 2024, which was awarded a silver-gilt medal by the judges and crowned the People's Choice award winner in the smaller garden category.

‘I think this has been the story of the week for many of the visitors to our garden,' Dawn, one of Pulp Friction’s directors, tells us. ’It speaks strongly of how we at Pulp Friction CIC take lives and nurture them and find an environment they can thrive in – so powerful.'

the pulp friction growing skills garden peoples choice award rhs chelsea flower show 2024
The Pulp Friction – Growing Skills GardenRHS / Neil Hepworth

Central to the Growing Skills Garden is a large overhead hoop constructed from recycled fire hoses, with edible planting spread throughout. All of the hard landscaping materials were recycled or reclaimed, with a prime example being the use of gabion baskets, which were given a new lease of life and turned into a striking garden feature.

a patio with a deck and plants
Gabion baskets were filled with waste materialsPulp Fricton

For months, Pulp Friction members and volunteers collected garden rubble ready to fill the gabions, and while at RHS Chelsea, they collected discarded materials from other gardens during their construction to add to the baskets.

Some Pulp Friction members were also involved in the build of the garden, demonstrating exactly what can be achieved and the power of inclusivity through gardening.

a group of people in vests
Pulp Friction

With Chelsea Flower Show 2024 now over, the garden breakdown has begun, with the All About Plants gardens having just a few days to dismantle their garden displays. Sponsored by Project Giving Back, a grant-making scheme enabling UK-based charities to apply for a fully-funded garden at RHS Chelsea, the garden will be relocated to Stockhill Fire Station in Nottingham for the community to enjoy.

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