Daffodil supremo Johnny Walkers has won gold for the 21st year in a row at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
Walkers Bulbs is a specialist division of Taylors Bulbs, of Holbeach, and its magnificent display in the show’s Floral Marquee this week features 61 varieties of daffodils.
Johnny, who has been showing daffodils at Chelsea for 29 years, had something extra special up his sleeve – a brand new daffodil variety called Georgie Boy, which was officially named at the show by gardening expert and broadcaster Rachel de Thame in honour of the new royal prince.
Johnny (67) said: “It’s white with a yellow trumpet – £2.50 from every ten bulbs sold will go to the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity. We have named it to mark the birth of Prince George. Money will go to the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity because Prince William is its president.”
Temperatures at the show hit 30C on Sunday and Monday.
The Walkers Bulbs daffodils were taken there in a refrigerated lorry, arranged and then put back in the lorry until late on Sunday night so the blooms were as fresh as could be for Monday morning’s judging.
Exhibitors don’t find out how they’ve done until Tuesday.
Johnny said: “The first thing you do when you get in – which was about 6.45am – is go to the stand to see what your award is. It’s there waiting for you.”
He was delighted to see gold again and said: “We keep working at it.”
Georgie Boy was among 20 out of 40 entries short-listed for plant of the year, but sadly it didn’t win.
Asked how many Chelsea Flower Shows he has left, Johnny said: “A few more yet, probably. You never know, do you?”
He grew up with daffodils and says: “It’s a very interesting flower. There’s so many different variations of colour and form, every one is different, every one is a challenge – some will grow easy, some don’t, it’s just one of those things.
“Chelsea is just one of those ‘buzz’ shows.
“You get to meet a lot of people with a lot of different questions – and I get a buzz out of trying to solve their problems.”