The Horticultural Trades Association (HTA), working on behalf of the UK garden industry, exhibited on stand GPA/136 within the Discovery Zone in the Great Pavilion at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018. ‘The Great Escape’ was both educational and inspiring helping to demonstrate the benefits of plants, gardening and outdoor space.

‘The Great Escape’ highlighted some of the ways in which people of all ages enjoy their outdoor space – for relaxing, growing, playing, engaging with nature with supporting information about the benefits that this brings. It showcased the role of UK garden centres and initiatives such as National Children’s Gardening Week, in helping to spread the message about the wider benefits of plants, gardens and gardening.

Designed by Chris Collins (CM Collins Horticulture Ltd) the exhibit helps to show that you really don’t have to go far to escape to your outdoor space and reap the benefits of doing so.  From keeping a plant on a windowsill to having a small space to grow your own there are huge health and wellbeing benefits to be had from enjoying plants and being outside.


The exhibit has been designed with four spaces that all seamlessly flow together to create one unified garden, that represent the various ways in which your garden can benefit your health. This will be done using grow your own related plant materials and accessories, wildlife boosting plants and nature housing to encourage sustainability of endangered small animals and insects as well as exercise and relaxation areas in which to promote the UK garden industry. There will be facts and figures throughout bringing the exhibit to life.

The Orb Den

A garden kitchen to propagate and grow micro-crops featuring a mounted bug hotel, compost robot, solar panel and stepping stones. Our designer sort inspiration for the Orb Den from the Growroom by Sine Lindholm, Mads-Ulrik Husum & SPACE10. Click here for more information on how to build your own. 

The Urban Garden

A pot garden to encourage the amateur gardener featuring tiered hanging baskets, containers, mounted bat box, bird boxes, weather station, hedgehog house, insect tower, barbecue, stepping stones and reconditioned decking.

The Outdoor Gym

A hub to promote health and well-being for all the family featuring exercise equipment, containers, fruit area, mounted tool rack and mounted bird boxes.

The Summer House

A place of serenity and relaxation to enjoy the garden all year-round featuring a summer house, birch trees and horn beam, herbaceous planting, seating, mounted bird boxes and camomile lawn areas.

Adam Taylor, HTA President comments, “We are excited to be back at RHS Chelsea Flower Show to showcase the UK garden industry. This year, situated in the Discovery Zone, we have a great opportunity to educate, engage and inspire the public on the benefits of plants and gardening.”

He adds, “It will be possible for many of the ideas featured to be replicated within garden centres and this will be a great way of joining in with the activity and the buzz around the show.”


Design and Build


Chris has worked in West Africa, Cameroon and Japan. Following this he worked for Royal Botanic Gardens Kew after his return to the UK, moving on to be Head Gardener at Westminster Abbey. He presented a TV series on BBC 2 called The Plantsman and was resident Blue Peter gardener from 2004 – 2013. Chris was awarded the Duke of Edinburgh medal in 2007 for his service to horticulture.


JWL Landscapes has a wealth of experience in the landscaping industry. A landscaping contractor specialising in the production of high quality landscape installations.

Planting List

A full plant list and the HTA Great Escape New Plant Entries can be found here:

HTA Great Escape - New Plant Award entries & Plant List


Plants featured in The Great Escape are available in UK garden centres. To find your local garden centre visit

Build a Composter 'Robot' Competition

BeeBot success for Kershaw's Garden Centre

The BeeBot All in One Composter from Kershaw’s Garden Centre from Brighouse in West Yorkshire is set to feature at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. This follows a challenge set by the HTA for retail members to create an innovative ‘robot’ composter to feature on The Great Escape – the industry feature within The Discovery Zone at this year’s show.

The Beebot, was cleverly constructed by the team at Kershaw’s and uses all sorts of garden sundries and accessories from plant supports, tree ties, sedum tray, plant fleece, water dish, bird feeder, wire mesh and wellies – alongside a composter itself. They have added in a Perspex panel so that composting can be viewed in action along with a hatch for easy access to the completed material. A bug hotel formed from cones, corrugated cardboard, straw and moss made the head – which could also provide a habitat for bees – the inspiration behind the design.

Chris Collins, designer of The Great Escape comments, “This design is just great and will fit in so well with the whole ethos of The Great Escape. It is a fab example of how gardening activities can be fun and engaging and I am sure will attract a lot of attention at Chelsea. It will be great to see other garden centres creating their own fun composters to tie in and create their own talking points instore.”

Liz Kenny from Kershaw’s Garden Centre said: “We are delighted that Beebot has been chosen as the winner.  The main design idea was that we wanted the robot to be more than just a composter.  Our team had great fun working together to design and build our robot composter and any family could create their own using all sorts of recycled materials. 

As well as having their BeeBot featured at Chelsea the winning team from Kershaw’s will be attending the show and telling visitors about their creation. For more information on the winning entry, please click here.

The Beebot was built to help promote National Children's Gardening Week which takes place annually in the ‘warm’ week at the end of May and this year from 26 May – 03 June 2018. To get involved, have a look at the ‘Things to do’ section of the website at


For further information please contact Harley Coles, HTA Events Organiser.


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