An Echium Eruption

How do you think up and put together a fresh new conceptual and innovative exhibit for a new RHS show?
Echium World, alias Linda and Ray Heywood are embarking on such a project for this year’s new RHS Chatsworth House Flower Show .The unique exhibit ‘Echium Eruption’ will represent a volcano caldera borne from the fact some Echium varieties specifically Echium Wildpretii and E. Pininana (the giant tree Echium) grow on the slopes of the volcano Mount Teide in Tenerife. Visitors to the show will walk around the perimeter to view the display and look down into the heart of the volcano to view many varieties of Echium and complementary plants.

Linda says ‘ Our vision from the start was to involve and inform as many people as we can on our journey to Chatsworth this summer. Because the show is local to us, we are based in Nottinghamshire, it’s a fabulous opportunity to showcase many Echium varieties (over 35 species) and as holders of the National Plant Collection of Echium. These amazing plants speak for themselves when you witness the sound of hundreds of bees feeding from these nectar rich plants and especially the towering skyscraper feeding station that is Echium Pininana reaching well over 13 feet tall!’

The couple soon recognised early on in the initial planning stage that the design would be a challenge to construct and a logistical nightmare to transport and site at the show. Although a small model of the caldera was created, it became obvious help was needed to scale up the structure to full size.

‘We are delighted that the local building company Robert Woodhead Limited are keen to help and have offered to build and install the exhibit for us. The exciting construction plan includes involving apprentices to work on the project to develop skills and talent through this unique business partnership. You never know these may be the next generation that support and work with the RHS in a couple of decades from now’ states Ray.

Local school children are excited to be once again included in the preparation and will help by designing and painting part of the exhibit. The ‘Very Volcano’ project an extra curricula activity supported by volunteers and staff will encourage and teach children through activities focusing on geography, research and art as well as additional learning about plants and gardening.