Some would say that Sparsholt College’s 2015 RHS Chelsea Flower Show sponsor is every beer lovers’ dream. The College has partnered up with Wadworth brewery to tell the historic story of the hop, which for centuries has been enjoyed in many a refreshing pint of beer. So if you didn’t know your Fuggle from your Wort, the Hop Cycle garden will demonstrate the many uses and properties of the hop and the many pressures over time which has reduced their range and availability.
Designed and created by a team of 14 Horticulture students, the display features two garden areas: one planted with species that make or flavour drinks and the other a pub garden to relax and enjoy in. Visitors to the world-famous flower show will see the exhibit in RHS Discover, which aims to educate as well as demands high standards of plantsmanship, and will show, the various stages of the hop cycle.
Horticulture expert Chris Bird who is leading the student team said: “Exhibiting at RHS Chelsea is a thrill for any gardener, famous or otherwise. For our students it is an incredible experience which requires them to draw on all their skills and knowledge. Our purpose at Sparsholt is to train the next generation of horticulturists and what greater start to their careers then having their work showcased on an international platform. Sponsor Wadworth has added a new dimension to the experience this year and the students have all thoroughly enjoyed working with the famous brewery, seeing how one of this country’s popular leisure pursuit’s starts life in the world of horticulture.”
With the historic brewer Wadworth as partner, the garden will include many features associated with the company which has been brewing in Devizes for 140 years. From a penny farthing inspired by founder Henry Wadworth who cycled from London to Bath in 1869, to original beer barrels, traditional hand pumps and a magnificent hand painted ‘Hop Cycle’ pub sign.
“We are simply delighted to be involved in this project for the Chelsea Flower Show and to be working with the remarkably talented staff and students of Sparsholt College,” said Paul Sullivan, Wadworth Sales and Marketing Director. “This is an exciting time for the brewing industry with the craft beer sector growing rapidly. As an established brewer that prides itself on quality and consistency, we are conscious of the need to nurture our dwindling stock of heritage hop varieties so that future brewers have a full range of ingredients to choose from to create the finest beers. Cask ale is now fashionable again having virtually disappeared in the 1970’s. Maintaining a full range of hop varieties will help to provide the brewers of the future with the basic ingredients for extending the variety and popularity of this historic beverage.”
Sparsholt College Hampshire has a long history of Chelsea medal success achieving six Gold medals, three Silver-gilt medals, four Silver medals, three Bronze medals since 1998.