Fronds in high places: gardener earns silver medal at flower show
A Dublin man who swapped the world of finance for 44 acres of gardens in Co Kerry has won one of the highest honours at the Chelsea Flower Show, a Silver Gilt Medal, on his first time entering the prestigious event.
Billy Alexander battled Ireland's bitter winter and the logistics of transporting trees, plants, moss and even rocks from Kells Bay on the Ring of Kerry to central London to bring his 'Wilde Atlantic Garden' to life. "You never expect it, you definitely hope for it," said the Chelsea debutant of his win.
"Your first time at Chelsea, everyone wants a gold, but the experience has been very positive and I'm delighted with the Silver Gilt."
The garden showcases rare and exotic ferns grown in Billy and his wife Penn's Kells Bay House and Gardens which enjoys a sub-tropical microclimate. And Billy has had a number of high-profile guests to his show garden with Queen Elizabeth stopping by on Monday.
"We had a great chat about Kerry and the time Queen Victoria came to Killarney. We just talked about the plants. It was a great old chat for three or four minutes," he said.