George Hillier on the Importance of Chelsea

home and garden news | george hillier on the importance of chelsea | Romsey & VillagesAfter 71 consecutive Chelsea Flower Show Gold Medals, the event’s most successful exhibitor in its history, Hillier, still regards it as “the single most important event in our year”.

Hillier’s garden in the Grand Pavilion has been a fixture at the show for almost 100 years and is a ‘must see’ exhibit for visitors.

“When we first exhibited is still open to debate,” says George Hillier, the great-great grandson of the founder of the business. “We know we were there in 1922 as this is the first time we were listed in the Chelsea catalogue, but we are pretty sure we were supplying plants even earlier than this. A young Hillier apprentice who worked for the company between 1910 and 1913 is even recorded as saying ‘I missed going to the first Chelsea Show, but I helped prepare some plants for it’.”

The company was founded by Edwin Hillier in Winchester in 1864, two years after the first RHS Great Spring Show, the forerunner of Chelsea.

“With our long Chelsea heritage, we are as much a part of the event as Pimm’s and strawberries and cream,” says George. “The prospect of our 72nd consecutive gold is very exciting but we are not allowing it to blow us off course. Our mission is to inspire the creation of green living spaces for now and the future, and our Chelsea gardens are designed to reflect that aim.”

Exhibiting at the world’s most famous flower show is vitally important to the company for both its national and international markets. It is the one opportunity for the business to involve all aspects and departments within the firm in a single, common cause.

Sarah Eberle is designing the 2017 exhibit and garden for the second year running. Working alongside her will be Caitlin McLaughlin, the winner of the RHS Young Designer of the Year 2016.

“Supporting young people is a key feature of our business and will be the focal point of our stand on the Friday of show week. We have again invited students from Writtle College to work alongside younger members of the Hillier team from across the business. These include members of our management trainee and apprenticeship programmes.

“Our Chelsea gardens always help formulate the public’s perception of the company. They reflect our horticultural expertise and the extensive range of plants, shrubs and trees for which we are internationally recognised. These gardens are the perfect opportunity to put all of this and our staff together for the public to meet,” adds George.

Chelsea Flower Show remains extremely important to the company as it is the platform from which it launches new plant varieties. It is clearly a policy that pays dividends. In 2016, £143,000 worth of additional new business was generated by the company’s plant wholesale division for the new plant introductions at the show. One of the new plants in 2016 was Lavandula ‘Silver Line’ that was launched in collaboration with Dame Esther Rantzen’s Charity The Silver Line. Hillier Nurseries donated £1 for every plant sold, resulting in Hillier donating £13,000 to the charity.

“We have four new plant introductions this year, including a very exciting and unusual weeping crab apple tree. But for us, the success of Chelsea is measured by being able to give a very public face to our business, showing to the world the passion we have for our trees and plants,” says George.

He first visited the show more than 30 years ago as a 10-year old boy and has been attending almost without a break since then. He has many memories but picks out two which, he believes, best reflect the Hillier role at Chelsea Flower Show.

“All of the grandchildren took it in turn to take Lady Hillier around the show in her wheelchair. I was about 14 or 15 when I was on duty. My abiding memory is the time it took because we could never take more than four or five paces without either being stopped by a well-wisher or my grandmother seeing someone she wanted to talk to. She knew almost everyone at the show.

“You can imagine our team at the show is large. One of the most difficult jobs is positioning the very large trees and manoeuvring them into a very precise position on the stand. It quite literally takes hours. When it is completed, late on the Sunday evening, we are exhausted but happy. Then my Uncle John appears, with a pair of very long handled loppers. Can you imagine our panic? “Don’t worry, he always shouts, just clipping off a few brown leaves. I just know it will happen again this year and, once again, we will all panic. But that is the huge value and benefit of being a family business. We all know what our roles are,” says George, dashing off to check yet another aspect of the plants and trees that will be Hillier’s Chelsea Stand 2017.

“Don’t worry, he always shouts, just clipping off a few brown leaves. I just know it will happen again this year and, once again, we will all panic. But that is the huge value and benefit of being a family business. We all know what our roles are,” says George, dashing off to check yet another aspect of the plants and trees that will be Hillier’s Chelsea Stand 2017.

First Time Buyer Reality Check - Pressure Causes Relationship Strain & Stress

  • Written by Editor

Romsey Homes News | FIRST TIME BUYER REALITY CHECK - PRESSURE CAUSES RELATIONSHIP STRAIN AND STRESS | Romsey & VillagesOver a third (35%) of recent first time buyers say the stress of the buying process made them ill and 34% say it caused issues in their relationship

· Over a quarter (27%) of first time buyers delayed buying their home by more than two years

· One in five (20%) had to wait between six to 10 years to save for a deposit

· Nearly one in five (17%) of recent first time buyers took three or more attempts to buy their home

The latest research from Aldermore’s quarterly First Time Buyer Index[1] explores the impact of the difficulties faced by first time buyers in the current housing market. The results show the process of buying a first property causes so much stress for some people it has made them ill (35%) or caused issues in their relationship (34%).

This stress is understandable. Aldermore’s figures show nearly one in five (17%) recent first time buyers took three or more attempts to buy their home, while a quarter (27%) had to delay by more than two years. The impact of the buying process even resulted in two fifths (40%) of respondents feeling like they have had to rebuild their life due to the compromises they had to make to get on the housing ladder.

Hurdles and sacrifices

The Index also reveals the most common hurdles recent first time buyers had to overcome and the sacrifices they made in order to buy their first home. The main challenge for nearly a fifth (18%) of respondents was raising a deposit - one in five (20%) had to wait between six to 10 years to save enough money. In order to do so, over a third (37%) cut back on taking holidays and eating out.

Nearly one in 10 (9%) found the actual process of securing a mortgage the biggest difficulty, and the same number (10%) cited the whole buying process as the biggest problem. For a further 8% of first time buyers it was the length of the purchase process.

Getting on the housing ladder

When asked what could be done to improve the situation, almost a third (32%) recent first time buyers requested the issue of rising house prices to be addressed. For over one in three (34%) respondents, simplifying the whole buying process would help, while three in ten (30%) believe the situation would improve if better mortgage products were available.

In control of life

In the end though, the positives outweigh the negatives. Nearly three quarters (73%) of recent first time buyers felt like they had reached adulthood when they got the keys to their first home, and almost seven in ten (69%) found that putting their own stamp on their new home to be an empowering experience.

Three quarters (75%) of recent first time buyers feel they are no longer wasting money on rent, and 70% believe owning their own home gives them financial control.

Charles McDowell says: “Our latest quarterly first time buyer index reveals the issues recent first time buyers have faced when getting on the property ladder and the impact this is having on their day-to-day lives. Buying a first home is an empowering experience and can provide financial control, but our research shows the sacrifices being made by first time buyers to reach that first rung of the property ladder are negatively impacting their health and personal relationships.

“The affordability ratio has doubled since 19972, demand is currently outmatching supply, and these difficulties are directly impacting first time buyers’ wellbeing. First time buyers are the driving force of the property market, but they are currently being priced out. More needs to be done to tackle these issues to ensure they have the best opportunity to buy their dream home.

“Almost one in ten (9%) found the process of securing a mortgage the biggest difficulty which is why at Aldermore we are committed to helping to those who are struggling to gather a deposit by offering a range of products, including the family guarantee mortgage and 95% mortgages for customers who have a smaller deposit.”

V & A Paint Collection Inspired By Victoria and Albert Museum Now Available

  • Written by Editor

Romsey Homes News |  THE V&A CLASSIC PAINT COLLECTION NOW AVAILABLE| Romsey & VillagesThe V&A Classic Paint Collection, a selection of 40 distinctive colours inspired by the Victoria and Albert Museum’s (V&A) unique architecture and decorative interiors, is now available online at and in store at the V&A.

A new website dedicated to the paint range has been unveiled at, where you can discover the full colour palette, register for a free colour card, and shop the new paint collection.

Developed in close collaboration with Master Paintmakers, part of an international paint group, the Classic Collection uses the finest pigments to achieve the highest quality paint product available in its category, and allows homeowners to bring the palette of the Museum into their own home.

Available in Matt Emulsion, Eggshell, Chalk, and Masonry finishes, prices for Matt Emulsion are £36 for 2.5 litres, and £72 for 5 litres, with the 40 colours also available in sample pots at £4.75 each.

Speaking about the V&A Classic Paint Collection, Lauren Sizeland, Head of Business Development & Licensing at the V&A commented:

“We are delighted to have found a well-established UK manufacturer, capable of producing paint of such exceptionally high quality. The product meets the exacting standards of the museum, such that it now features on the walls of some of the V&A’s galleries, the new shop and within the Museum’s Grand Entrance. We hope this will prove to be a long and successful collaboration”.

Highlights from the palette include Minton, a tinted blue-green which is reminiscent of the Majolica-clad columns that once ran throughout the Silver Gallery.

Portico is a versatile mid-neutral suited to both classic and contemporary schemes and works as a tonal layer with Illusory Marble and Leighton.

To create a statement in the home, Cole Grey provides a rich grey tone named in honour of Henry Cole, the V&A’s first Museum director. Matched with Percival Pink, the two colours will enhance a period or contemporary room space.

Victoria Plum - named in tribute of Queen Victoria - is an intense, deep purple shade, providing a modern twist on a classic kitchen or living room.

V&A Classic Paint Collection



Percival Pink


Cole Grey and Percival Pink

Victoria Plum


It Takes 720 Hours To Make A House a Home

  • Written by Editor

Romsey Homes News | It takes 720 hours to make a house a home | Romsey & VillagesOn average, it takes 720 hours (a month) for a new house to feel like a home, according to new Royal Mail Redirection research released today.

Men settled down quicker (a month) than women who took three months. Nearly one in ten women (7%) said they still don’t feel at home in their current property.

Putting up family photos (37%), receiving mail addressed to you (34%) and cooking the first meal in the kitchen (33%) are the tasks that help us feel at ease in a new home.


Putting family photos on the wall (37%)

Receiving mail addressed to you in your new address (34%)

Cooking your first meal in the kitchen (33%)

Installing WiFi and/or TV (29%)

Snuggling under blankets watching TV (25%)

Opening the front door for the first time with the key (22%)

First time cleaning the house (20%)

Attaching the new key to your key ring (18%)

When any alterations are complete (17%)

First name terms with the neighbours (17%)

Installing Wi-Fi and TV makes 18 to 24-year-olds feel at home (49%), while putting family photos on the wall works for 25 to 44-year-olds (40% of 25 to 34-year-olds and 39% of 35 to 44-year-olds). For renters putting up family pictures (42%) is the key while property owners saw mail addressed to them on the doormat (33%) as the turning point.

Jim Conning, Managing Director of Data Services, at Royal Mail, said: “Moving into a new home produces a mix of emotions from fear to happiness. Displaying familiar objects, looking at familiar faces and seeing your name on mail are simple and relatively quick, ways to settle in.”

It takes movers a month (21%) to unpack all their belongings. The Welsh unpack the quickest; putting out all their stuff within a week (21%) while home movers in the North West don’t unpack for 12 months (6%).

Once unpacked and in, it takes more than 2 years for any renovations to take place. Home movers in Northern Ireland spend the longest time perfecting their home. Almost a third of people interviewed in the region (32%) said that their alterations had taken more than 2 years. At the other end of the scale, people in Scotland (23%) took just a month to spruce up their homes.

On average, people spend £7,859.82 renovating a new home. Women spend £39.38 more than men (£7,878.76 compared to £7,839.38) on home alterations. Around the country, home movers in the South East spend the most; £9,116.78 on average. While in East Anglia they spend just £6,883.90 to ensure their new home is up to their standard. The first alterations on the to-do list are decorating the living room (19%), painting and decorating (13%) and buying new furniture (11%).