Peat free gold! Lily grower using Cumbrian Wool Compost scoops top gong at Chelsea

One of the UK’s leading lily growers has scooped a gold medal at this week’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show with blooms grown solely in Dalefoot Compost’s Wool Compost range.

This is the second year running that renowned grower HW Hyde & Son’s has won the top award for lilies grown in the eco-friendly peat free compost at the most competitive flower show in the world. The super sustainable Wool Compost range is made from British sheep’s wool and bracken and is the perfect peat free choice for all your gardening needs – award-winning or for your own back garden!


HW Hyde’s nursery, based near Reading, has scooped numerous gold medals over the years for its Chelsea exhibit. This year, like last, its oriental lilies for the Chelsea show bench have been grown in Wool Compost Ericaceous, oriental trumpet lilies in a mix of Wool Compost and Wool Compost Ericaceous, whilst all its Asiatic lilies have been raised in Wool Compost.  

Simon Bland from Dalefoot Composts said: “We’re over the moon that the lilies have been recognised as being the best of the best with a gold medal. We’re also delighted that such a prestigious grower as HW Hyde has opted for our Wool Compost for Chelsea. More and more gardeners are choosing peat free and it’s great to see a leading grower giving it a vote of confidence.”

Elizabeth Hyde from HW Hyde said: “This is our 11th gold so actually it was a bit of a relief as you never know what the judges are going to think. When we saw our gold we were ecstatic!”

Ideal for those who want to garden more sustainably and save on water bills, Dalefoot Compost’s Wool Compost range cleverly harnesses the natural properties of wool to trap water, whilst releasing a steady steam of nutrients to feed the plants over the growing season. Made from totally renewable British resources, the range has composts for container growing, flowers, vegetables, shrubs, seeds and ericaceous plants. The range is available online at and also a growing list of stockists including 40 Wyevale Garden Centres, The National Trust’s Morden Hall Park garden centre, Petersham Nurseries, Charlies Stores in Welshpool, the Burford Garden Company, Alleyn Park Garden Centre in West Dulwich, Potash Garden Centre in Essex, The Herb Farm near Reading and Hayes Garden Land in Ayrshire.

The compost has a similar soft texture to peat and has a wide range of naturally occurring trace elements for good plant health. It uses the natural hydroscopic properties of sheep’s wool to keep compost moist for longer which is particularly important when buds set during the summer and essential for those summer hanging baskets. Wool also provides a steady release of nitrogen, perfect as a slow release fertiliser.

Wool Compost is made on a 120-acre family farm at Dalefoot in the Lake District fells by farmer Simon Bland and environmental scientist Jane Barker, using wool from their own flock and the Herdwick ‘wool-clip’ of neighbouring hill farmers, including National Trust tenants. As well as helping the growing number of gardeners who want to switch to peat free, the compost finds a novel use for British wool – good news for struggling sheep farmers.

The use of bracken in Wool Compost is also beneficial. The spread of this aggressive, waist-high plant in the Lake District makes grazing difficult and impacts upon native species. Composted it boasts high levels of natural potash, essential for fruiting and flowering. A win for nature lovers and gardeners alike.

As well as making peat free compost, Jane and Simon also help save Britain’s ancient peat bogs. They run a leading peat bog restoration contracting firm responsible for re-introducing peat forming sphagnum across hundreds of hectares of degraded upland and lowland bogs of Northern England and Scotland for clients such as Yorkshire Peat Partnership, Cumbria Wildlife Trust, Scottish Natural Heritage and Natural England. So they are real peat free champions!

Tel: 01931 713281   Email: @DalefootCompost