ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, June 03, 2007
Vol. 42 - No 01

Borneo Exotics wins another gold at Chelsea

By Hiranthi Fernando

Borneo Exotics has reached the top slot once again, winning a coveted Gold medal at the prestigious Chelsea Flower Show 2007 held in May in London. The Sri Lanka-based company’s display of Nepenthes in the category Carnivorous Plants, reached the high standard required to be awarded a Gold for the second year running.

To cap it all, their exhibit has also been nominated for the Anthony Huxley Trophy for the second year. This highly acclaimed trophy is awarded for the best exhibit of ornamental plants shown in all the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) shows in Britain during the year. In April 2007, Borneo Exotics became the first ever Sri Lankan company to be awarded this special annual award for their display at the Chelsea Flower Show 2006.

“The Gold Medal at the 2007 Chelsea Flower Show was won by the unanimous vote of 13 judges,” said an elated Robert Cantley, Founder and Managing Director of Borneo Exotics.

Exhibitors at the Chelsea Flower Show are by invitation and only previous medalists at Royal Horticultural Society shows are eligible for consideration. Borneo Exotics first launched their product at the RHS Great Autumn Show in London in 2004. The judges voted unanimously to award a Gold Medal and issued an invitation to make an application for a place at the Chelsea Flower Show 2005. They were later presented an additional award from the President of the RHS for ‘The Best New Entrant to the London Flower Shows for 2004’.

At their first appearance at the Chelsea Flower Show in 2005, Borneo Exotics narrowly missed a Gold Medal and were awarded a Silver Gilt Medal, which is a category between Gold and Silver. Mr. Cantley explained that the exceptionally cold weather in London that year caused some damage to the plants, which was noted by the judges who were looking for perfection. The display reached perfection at the 2006 show, when they were unanimously awarded a Gold Medal and subsequently the Anthony Huxley Trophy for the display as well.

For the display in 2007, over twenty varieties of Nepenthes were used. Dixon Wickremasinghe, Export Sales Manager explained that about 69 plants were taken to London to be used in the display.

The display was set in a landscape, which was not fully wet nor dry, which is where the Nepenthes ideally grows. Two new hybrid species Ampullaria x sibuyansis and Veitchii x lowii were used in this year’s display. “No one else in the world has these plants,” Mr. Wickremasinghe said.

In view of the special achievements of Borneo Exotics, the Export Development Board, in conjunction with the Sri Lanka High Commission in London made arrangements for a display of Kandyan dancers in front of the Borneo Exotics exhibit on Press Day at the show. The dancers were well appreciated by the visitors to the show.

Mr. Wickremasinghe said the company was very grateful to several people whose cooperation helped them to achieve what they did. “We would like to thank the Sri Lanka Customs Export Department, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Wildlife for helping with the CITES export permits, the Board of Investment and SriLankan Airlines for their cooperation in transporting the plants in ideal conditions.”

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Copyright 2007 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.