News & Blogs

Carlisle colleague to make Asda display at Chelsea Flower Show

We’re going to be staging our first ever display at the world famous RHS Chelsea Flower Show – thanks to our talented colleague John Dalton, who works at our Carlisle store.

John in store

John combines his role on the checkouts two days a week with work as a freelance florist including putting on displays and demonstrations at flower shows and clubs all over the country.

When he suggested creating an Asda exhibit at the Chelsea Flower Show, his store manager Louise Swift got in touch with the team at Asda head office and they loved the idea.

The Asda plants and flower team will be providing everything John needs to create his design – which will be a closely guarded secret until it’s unveiled at the show, which runs from May 23rd to 27th.

John, who’s 61, said: "I’ve exhibited at the Chelsea Flower Show before but I feel a bit more pressure this time doing it for Asda!

“I was at the Chelsea Flower Show last year as a visitor and Asda sponsored a display. I thought it would be nice to have an Asda colleague actually build a display.

“I approached Louise and suggested I could do something for Asda. She spoke to Asda’s head office and then I got a letter asking me to do a display for Asda. I accepted right away, it’s going to be an honour.

“We’re going down on Wednesday 24th May for the show, then I’ll work throughout the night from 9pm to 6am to get it ready for exhibiting on the Thursday. Judging will be first then the display will be exhibited to all the visitors.

“I’ve always been interested in horticulture. After school I did a City & Guilds in Horticulture although becoming a florist happened almost by accident. I used to breed Doberman dogs and I took them to a horticulture show.

“I went into the floral art section and thought ‘I could do that’, so at the next show I did a floral arrangement which won first prize.

“People started asking me to work on their displays and after that I started my own business as a florist doing weddings and other special occasions.

“I joined Asda in 2013. That was a bad year for florists as people weren’t getting married – they thought it was an unlucky year. So I joined Asda for some extra cash.

“I’ve done floral demonstrations in the store and I give colleagues tips for their gardens.”

John at the checkout

Louise recently retired from her role at the store but will be heading to the event with John to offer support and take photos.

She said: “We were very aware of John’s talent even before this as he’d done a couple of flower displays for Tickled Pink. John’s unassuming but he’s very serious about floristry. It’s a fantastic opportunity for Asda, the store and John.”

Lucy Grieve, Category Planner for Prep Produce and House Plants & Flowers, said: “When Louise approached me about this I thought it was a perfect opportunity to show how we support our colleagues by sharing in John’s passion and knowledge of flowers. He has been working closely with the flower buying team to source the magnificent display of flowers which will be seen at the show.”

Posted in News & Blogs on 12 May 2017