A big well done to our checkout colleague John Dalton who’s struck gold with Asda’s first ever display at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
John, who works at our Carlisle store, created a stunning design called Galacticus that wowed the judges and won him the Gold Award in the ‘Destination Unknown’ category using flowers sourced from Asda’s suppliers.
He came up with an idea for a spectacular creation based on space featuring colourful flowers weaving through metal ‘flying saucers’.
All designs have to be created from scratch at the show itself, so John worked from 9.30pm on Wednesday to around 3am on Thursday. He used red and yellow Gloriosa Lilies, Calla Lilies, Baltimore Chrysanthemums and Amnesia Roses.
John, who’s 61, said: “I am absolutely delighted, I’m on cloud nine! I didn’t want to let Asda down and I feel a lot of pride.”
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.
He said: "Everyone’s delighted for me – I’ve had so many phone calls from family, friends and colleagues at Asda.
“The themes are set by the Flower Show and it could be anything. This had to be a hanging display on a movable plinth which doesn’t touch the ground.
“I was up against around eight other displays from all sorts of places. Someone who’d come to the show from Japan was in my category as was the Head Florist at Gleneagles.”
Asda’s flower team sourced everything for the display. Although most of the flowers John used are specialist and not available in stores, John was full of praise for the flower range at Asda.
John said: "They are fresh and good quality with a wide range too – the chrysanthemums and lilies are lovely.
“The top tip I would give customers buying flowers is to always re-cut the stems. People lift the flowers out of the buckets of water to have a closer look at them. This means the bottom part of the stems haven’t received as much water so they need to be re-cut.”
When he suggested creating an Asda exhibit at the Chelsea Flower Show, his former general store manager Louise Swift got in touch with the team at Asda head office and they loved the idea. John travelled down to the show with Louise and his partner Ken.
Louise, pictured below with John, said: "I’m so pleased for him. He put himself under quite a lot of pressure as he was exhibiting on behalf of Asda rather than himself.
“His display really stands out – there is nothing else like it within the category. It looks really modern and cutting edge.
“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.”
Lucy Grieve, Category Planner for Prep Produce and House Plants & Flowers, said: "We’re extremely proud of John for winning the Gold award. He really deserves it for all the hard work he has put in. It’s so good for a colleague’s amazing talent to be recognised at such a prestigious show.
“When Louise approached me I thought it was a perfect opportunity to show how we support our colleagues by sharing in John’s passion and knowledge of flowers.
“We really care about the quality of our plants and flowers. Flowers are delivered to stores daily to offer the freshest range, and all of our Extra Special Bouquets are hand tied by our expert colleagues.
“A really popular flower for our customers are chrysanthus. They’re in a lot of the bouquets as we can get them in a variety of different colours which really help brighten up our mixes.
“Lilies are always popular too and we had one of our best years on daffodils – they were flying off the shelves earlier in the year.”