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Despite high praise No Govt support for entry in Chelsea Flower Show 2012

Tourism bosses have turned down the chance to once again fly the flag for Bermuda at the world’s biggest gardening show.

The Department of Tourism has decided not to get involved in next year’s Chelsea Flower Show just four months after they were beaming with pride about their first ever entry.

This year’s award-winning entry showcased the Island as an ideal honeymoon destination to about 157,000 visitors and 1,700 journalists at the world-famous show. But flower arranger and architect Nicky Gurret was yesterday told the Government would not be partnering with her as they were “too busy” to consider her plans.

Ms Gurret has repeatedly e-mailed Tourism Minister Patrice Minors and Tourism Director William Griffith to ask for their support. She even went through the time and trouble to draw up plans for next year’s entry, inspired by the 1981 Double Fantasy album, released by John Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono after a stay in Bermuda.

Ms Gurret, who has won a whole host of international flower arranging awards, said: “I wanted to work together to get Bermuda recognised.

“I have a passion about getting Bermuda on the map. The right exhibit has the ability to capture people’s imaginations and bring them to Bermuda.

“It’s a publicity opportunity staring them in the face. It’s a win-win for everyone, it’s a great thing for Bermuda, I just assumed they would be so keen. I’ve tried my best but the organisation has just not been there. It’s been like pulling teeth”.

The Bermuda Honeymoon Garden, which is understood to have cost about $40,000, received widespread acclaim and featured on BBC and newspapers across the UK when it won silver at the Chelsea Flower Show in May. It was a joint effort between Ms Gurret, the Department of Tourism, the Parks Department and London-based company Indoor Garden Landscapes.

At the time Mr Griffith said: “We are thrilled to be part of this year’s Chelsea Flower Show for the first time in our history. Nicky has brought our 22 square mile paradise to life for all visitors to the show to experience what Bermuda has to offer.”

Government missed the August 1 deadline to exhibit in next year’s Grand Pavilion Garden, but Ms Gurret remained hopeful they would still be able to fill in an application form by the end of the month to exhibit in the Artisan Garden. But Mr Griffith e-mailed her to say “a government decision” had been made and they would not be involved in the show from May 22 to 26 next year.

Ms Gurret said: “I just want to see Bermuda in the Chelsea Flower Show, it’s an amazing opportunity for publicity. The show also attracts high-end people who have the money to visit Bermuda. I’m not seeking any individual recognition. I just wanted this exhibit to draw even more attention and a gold win for Bermuda. Jamaica, Grenada, Barbados and other Caribbean islands will be there even if we are not”.

Ms Gurret’s idea for the 3m by 4m ‘Bermuda Double Fantasy’ garden includes a moongate with a winding pathway leading to the beach with various double fantasy freesias, like those John Lennon spotted at the Botanical Gardens.Ms Gurret has now e-mailed the Department of Tourism’s new UK public relations company Publicasity to ask for their help.

Ms Gurret wrote: “I am afraid at the moment the Department of Tourism are not that keen to enter this year, but I am hopeful with your knowledge of the demographics and media coverage this event will have and this exhibit will have you can help me convince them of the merit of mounting this exhibit.”

Ms Gurret said: “They (Government) have hired this PR company to search for ideas to promote Bermuda. It’s like they can’t do anything before the PR company tells them to do it.

“But I’m Bermudian and I have an idea that I want my Government to embrace.

She added: “I’m forever hopeful that this will happen.”

Emma Ward, managing director of Publicasity, yesterday replied to Ms Gurret’s e-mail saying she thought the Chelsea Flower Show entry was “ good idea” and she would discuss it with the Department of Tourism.

In a last-ditch attempt to make her dream a reality, Ms Gurret is also appealing for companies to contact her if they are interested in sponsoring the Bermuda entry.

The Department of Tourism did not respond to requests for comment yesterday.

To contact Ms Gurret e-mail gurret[AT]northrock.bm

The Department of Tourism's postcard for the 2011 Chelsea Flower Show.

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Published September 29, 2011 at 9:55 am (Updated September 29, 2011 at 9:55 am)

Despite high praise No Govt support for entry in Chelsea Flower Show 2012

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