W & S Lockyer Auricula Specialists win Gold at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018

I love to visit the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, for me this is the most prestigious and exciting event of the horticultural calendar!  I enjoy seeing Chelsea’s show gardens of every size and style, I am always interested to discover the latest gardening products, and I really look forward to finding new favourite plants, whilst being reminded of old favourites.  I so enjoy visiting Chelsea’s Grand Pavilion, which is filled with over one hundred exhibits created by expert growers, from nurseries that seem to specialise in growing almost every kind of plant.

RHS judge Jim Buttress, pictured with Simon Lockyer and Louise Batchelor of W & S Lockyer Auricula Specialists, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018.
Auricula ‘Sirius’, Auricula ‘Roxie’, and Auricula ‘Lilac Ladywood’ pictured on the W & S Lockyer Auricula Specialists Gold Medal winning exhibit, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018.

W & S Lockyer are a family run, independent, specialist nursery that was started in Surrey, in the late 1980s by Bill Lockyer and his then 13-year-old son, Simon Lockyer.  Bill, his wife Joan, and their son Simon shared a love of gardening, together they grew many plants, including double flowered Auriculas, known as Florist’s Auriculas.  As the Lockyers’ passion for Auriculas grew, they began exhibiting their plants at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, where they first showed their Auriculas alongside those of the legendary Auricula specialist Brenda Hyatt, before moving on to host their own exhibits.  Bill and Simon exhibited their Auriculas at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show for over 20 years, they achieved their first Gold Medal together in 2012, repeating their success with consecutive Gold Medals in 2013, 2014, and 2015.  As the Lockyers’ Auricula collection grew they established a Plant Heritage National Collection of Florists Auriculas (the double flowered form).

Auricula ‘Brenda’s Choice’, pictured on the W & S Lockyer Auricula Specialists, Gold Medal winning exhibit, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018.
Simon Lockyer and Louise Batchelor of W & S Lockyer Auricula Specialists created their Auricula exhibit in memory of Simon’s Father, Bill Lockyer. Their exhibit feature’s Bill Lockyer’s bowler hat and two copper kettles – which were given as prizes for the best Auriculas, many years ago, at the Chelsea Flower Show. Pictured at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018.
Auricula ‘Kevin Keegan’, Auricula ‘Poacher’s Sky’, Auricula ‘Lincoln Cuckoo’, and Auricula ‘John Wayne’ pictured on the W & S Lockyer Auricula Specialists Gold Medal winning exhibit, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018.

Sadly, and unexpectedly, Bill Lockyer passed away after a short illness in January 2016.  Since his father’s passing, Simon has focussed even more of his energy on running W & S Lockyer with his partner Louise Batchelor, who’s also from a horticultural family – her father, Martin Batchelor established Eleplants Nursery.  W & S Lockyer continued their success at many of the RHS shows around the country, where they won awards and even Gold Medals for their plants, but with the Auriculas having such a special connection to his father, Simon understandably decided to take a break from exhibiting Auriculas at the Chelsea Flower Show – so W & S Lockyer did not exhibit at Chelsea for the following two years.  But this year, Simon and Louise returned with their Auriculas, creating an exhibit in memory of Bill Lockyer, for which the RHS judges awarded them another a Gold Medal!

Auricula specialist Simon Lockyer of W & S Lockyer Auricula Specialists, pictured with his Gold Medal winning display of Auriculas, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018. Simon is pictured holding Auricula ‘Bradford City’

Bill Lockyer was a true gentleman, a family man, and a great friend, I know that he would be so proud of Simon and Louise winning another Gold Medal with their Auriculas!

W & S Lockyer are a traditional, family run nursery based in Surrey, specialising in growing Auriculas, snowdrops, bulbs, and perennials, for more information, email Simon Lockyer simonlockyer39@gmail.com.

This article was first published in the July 2018 edition of Vantage Point Magazine.

If you’re looking to grow Auriculas, it’s worth remembering that Auriculas do not come true from seed, so if there is a particular colour or type of Auricula that you admire and wish to grow yourself, it is worth buying plants of named varieties. W & S Lockyer sell plug plants.
A closer look at some of the Auriculas on the Gold Medal winning Auricula exhibit, created by W & S Lockyer Auricula Specialists, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018.
Auricula expert Simon Lockyer, of W & S Lockyer Auricula Specialists, pictured with his partner Louise Batchelor, and Simon’s mother Joan Lockyer, together with their Gold Medal winning display of Auriculas, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018.
Auricula ‘Miss Bluey’ pictured on the W & S Lockyer Auricula Specialists Gold Medal winning exhibit, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018.
Auricula specialists Simon Lockyer and Louise Batchelor of W & S Lockyer Auricula Specialists, pictured with their Gold Medal winning display of Auriculas, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018.
Simon Lockyer holds a National Collection of Florists Auriculas, Florists Auriculas are the double flowered form of Auricula. W & S Lockyer’s Chelsea exhibit was made up of both double and single flowered Auriculas. Louise Batchelor and Simon Lockyer are pictured with their Gold Medal winning exhibit, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018.
Auricula ‘Piers Telford’, Auricula ‘William Gunn’, Auricula ‘Bluey’, and Auricula ‘field’ pictured on the W & S Lockyer Auricula Specialists Gold Medal winning exhibit, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018.
Auricula expert Simon Lockyer of W & S Lockyer Auricula Specialists, pictured with his Gold Medal winning display of Auriculas, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018.
The late Bill Lockyer, and his son Simon Lockyer always wore suits and bowler hats on the opening day of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Simon’s display of Auriculas were created in tribute to his Father, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018.
Auricula ‘Gwen Baker’, Auricula ‘Good Report’, and Auricula ‘Gay Crusader’ pictured on the W & S Lockyer Auricula Specialists Gold Medal winning exhibit, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018.
In times gone by, a copper kettle was given as a prize at large scale horticultural flower shows, like the Chelsea Flower Show. Pictured on the W & S Lockyer Auricula Specialists’ Gold Medal winning exhibit, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018.
At the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018, W & S Lockyer were selling Auricula plugs. Auriculas don’t come true from seed, so if there is a special Auricula that you’ve fallen in love with, you’ll need to buy a named plant of that particular variety.
Auricula specialists Simon Lockyer and Louise Batchelor of W & S Lockyer Auricula Specialists, pictured with their Gold Medal winning display of Auriculas, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018.

Other articles that may interest you…………..

To read my descriptions of each rose’s perfume and see photographs of the new rose introductions from David Austin Roses, for 2018 – 2019, which were launched at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018, please click here.

To see an overview of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018, please click here.

To see my 2018 Calendar of Specialist Plant Fairs, Festivals, Sales, and Swaps, please click here.

To take a tour of the Silent Pool Gin Garden, which was designed by David Neale for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018, please click here.

Other articles you might like:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *