Hillier is getting ready to blossom at BBC Gardeners' World Spring Fair

BBC Gardeners' World and Hillier's Chris Francis

Hillier director Chris Francis is excited about helping put a big event back on Hampshire's calendar - Credit: BBC Gardeners' World Spring Fair/Hillier

For the first time ever, BBC Gardeners’ World Live is setting its roots in Hampshire, where from May 28-30 the Spring Fair will be in full bloom in the grounds of Palace House at Beaulieu Motor Museum in the New Forest. Hampshire's Hillier is partnering the event and even hosting its own stall and shop, so we've talked with director Chris Francis to find out about what is in store…

With its stunning scenery and bountiful buds, there’s no better place than the county of Hampshire to host a Spring Fair. And, with their expert knowledge of all things gorgeous and green, garden centre group Hillier is a fine partner to marry up with BBC Gardeners’ World. ‘BBC Gardeners’ World Live has a great reputation for bringing inspiration to the home gardener, which is part of the Hillier ethos too,’ Chris Francis says. 

BBC Gardeners' World Beaulieu

The gardens at Beaulieu are a fine location for the fair - Credit: BBC Gardeners' World


‘It provides a great opportunity for us to meet many new gardeners, showcasing our plants and share expert advice so they can get even more enjoyment from their own gardens.’ The fair is also in Hillier heartland, just a few miles from its plant nurseries and several of its garden centres.

READ MORE: Hampshire gardening experts on how to create the perfect vignette

The company started in Winchester in Hampshire in 1864 and – having four garden centres in the county – know what an appetite for gardening there is in Hampshire. ‘Not to mention having the stunning New Forest on the doorstep – this is a location where being part of nature in any way possible is important to people,’ Chris says. ‘Although parts of Hampshire are rural countryside, there are also plenty of towns and urban conurbations, with smaller outdoor spaces, so it is a great place to offer a wide range of inspiration on how to make the most from your garden of any size.’

Being the headliner partner for the event, Hillier is putting on a bountiful display with the Hillier Experience providing inspiration, advice and even the opportunity to purchase plants grown in the nurseries. ‘It will be overflowing with garden ideas and planting combinations to try at home. It also showcases how a garden and its plants can evoke the changing mood from dawn to dusk,’ Chris explains. 

BBC Gardeners World Live Floral Marquee Avon Bulbs Platinum award Iris sibirica Sparkling Rose

Learn how to make your garden thrive with the help of Hillier's experts - Credit: BBC Gardeners' World Spring Fair


Excitingly, it is also setting the show alight with its fiery new plant – a Cercis x Canadensis titled Eternal Flame. Chris says: ‘This is a beautiful new variety of Cercis with deep red glossy leaves which turn gradually through orange to yellow shades.’

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Bringing a major event back to the Hampshire calendar has been a fun process for the group – especially partnering with such a well-known company. ‘Working with Gardeners’ World has been a great experience, they of course have a great understanding of creating these shows from the renowned Gardeners’ World Live in Birmingham,’ he continues. 

‘This is a new show, so the whole experience is exciting, not knowing completely what to expect over the weekend. But most of all we are really looking forward to meeting with lots of gardeners, sharing our passion for plants and hopefully inspiring them to do more in their own gardens.’ Whether you’re green thumbed or just a fan of all things bright and beautiful, it’s sure to be a gorgeous and fun day out for all. 

BBC Gardeners’ World Live Spring Fair is taking place May 28-30. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit bbcgardenersworldlive.com/spring-fair

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