Floral designers Fabulous Flowers has won a silver-gilt medal with their first exhibit at RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

The florists, who have a shop in Abingdon and a design studio in Kidlington, were awarded the medal, having missed a Gold by just two points, for their design on the theme of Pollination.

The exhibit, which was two years in the making, highlighted the sharp decline of the world’s bee populations.

Creative director Matthew Taylor said: “We were inspired by bees coming into our shop and always gravitating towards the blue and purple flowers, the delphiniums, which made us think about what people could do in their own gardens to attract them.

“Flowers are the tools of our trade and if we don’t have bees we don’t have flowers.

“We started with the idea of having a Mother Nature figure. Above her is a swarm of bees which is a suspended mobile which throws out wonderful shadows.

“We also made some skep baskets – which is a traditional way of keeping bees where you don’t take honey or very little and it’s better for the environment.”

This year's show presented an extra challenge as it was staged in autumn rather than early summer.

Matthew said: “We organized everything for May so we had to use what was around. We were very, very lucky that the season has been very good and gone on late and there are still delphiniums in people’s gardens."

He added: “It was a very different competition, very focused on the environment so we could not use any glue or forest foam."

A team of four built the exhibit over a week, working from 8am to 9pm on the Sunday before judging on Monday.

But the effort was well worth it.

“It was one of the most popular exhibits and had swarms of people round it all day every day," said Matthew.

TV presenter Anthea Turner said it was her favourite in the show and it was also praised by florist, author and TV presenter Simon Lycett, a judge on Channel 4's floristry competition show Full Bloom.

"The Chelsea pensioners also loved it,” said Matthew. “We worked like a hive, like the bees really.”

The Finding Our Way: An NHS Tribute Garden, which celebrated the tireless work of NHS staff, as well as commemorating all key workers through the pandemic, was awarded a silver medal in the Sanctuary Gardens category, and is a candidate in the People's Choice category.

Designed by Naomi Ferrett-Cohen for the University of Oxford and the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (OUH), the garden came to fruition following conversations between Naomi and Professor John Frater, an Infectious Diseases consultant at the university and OUH, following their collaboration on a previous garden in 2018.

Once dismantled, some of its plants will be donated to Katharine House Hospice in Adderbury.