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Katie Cardew, Sophie Allport, Freckleface Home Fragrance and Annie Allison fly the flag for Stamford and Rutland at RHS Chelsea Flower Show

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As RHS Chelsea Flower Show gets underway, business owners are hoping their trade will blossom.

A raft of local businesses are hosting trade stands at the world-famous horticultural show.

Stamford illustrator Katie Cardew is on her inaugural trip to Chelsea Flower Show and her stand features floral arrangements by Rutland Nursery at Manton as no faux flowers are allowed.

Katie Cardew with Morgana Robinson at the first day of Chelsea Flower Show (56854510)
Katie Cardew with Morgana Robinson at the first day of Chelsea Flower Show (56854510)

She has created a design especially for Chelsea, available on mugs, tea towels and other items and said they were "going down a treat". Among the first people to visit her stand was comedian Morgana Robinson.

Katie, who has shops in Stamford and Oakham, said she felt "very lucky" to get a stand as demand is so high.

Oakham-based fabric and wallpaper designer Annie Allison is exhibiting her nature-inspired designs during her first outing to Chelsea. Like many of the traders, she has created a new design to celebrate the event - a simple line drawing of a tulip, which is available in three colour ways and manufactured in the UK.

Annie Allison is exhibiting at Chelsea Flower Show (56853808)
Annie Allison is exhibiting at Chelsea Flower Show (56853808)

Annie said: “I’m honoured and excited to have my flagship stand at the flower show this year to unveil new examples of my work and showcase what I love about the English countryside. My latest design celebrates the joy of spring and I absolutely love tulips, so where better to launch it but at one of the greatest flower shows in the world!”

Working from her studio on Mill Street in Oakham, Annie spent weeks preparing for the event. Her stand features her full range of fabrics and wallpapers as well as cushions, lampshades, rugs and tableware.

Annie added: “All of my designs are inspired by my love of the outdoors, so Chelsea Flower Show is the perfect place to showcase a range of my products that resonate with the amazing colour palettes and tones that this time of year can bring.”

Sophie Allport at Chelsea Flower Show (56854484)
Sophie Allport at Chelsea Flower Show (56854484)

Bourne-based homewares and lifestyle brand Sophie Allport is a regular at the event and will once again be showcasing a new design for this year, which feature on a fine bone china mug and tea towel, for the perfect souvenir.

The illustration features rows of beautiful irises, a magnificent sculpture and a pathway that leads through to the pavilion behind. Dragonflies, butterflies, and bumblebees dance through the sky, whilst the spectacular London parakeets sit proudly on the treetops. Dressed in iconic scarlets, cheerful Chelsea Pensioners enjoy the relaxed ambience of the tranquil grounds.

Sophie has been attending Chelsea Flower Show since 2010 and last year won a four-star stand award.

“I absolutely love Chelsea,” explained Sophie. “It’s one of the highlights of our year. We love seeing all our customers, and as a keen gardener, I always look forward to seeing all the gardens and displays, which are so inspirational. I hope our mug and tea towel will make lovely souvenirs for visitors and remind them of their special day."

Freckleface Home Fragrance, which was started in Bourne and now has shops in Cambridge and Stamford, also has a trade stand, selling candles and diffusers.

The event officially opens tomorrow and runs until Saturday but the first day is renowned for attracting celebrities and the Queen also attended yesterday, being pictured riding in a buggy past Katie Cardew and Freckleface Home Fragrance's stands.

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