Stay connected

Frome’s Chelsea Flower Show finalist

John Collins

John Collins

ALOCALblacksmith has been named as a finalist for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show’s ‘Garden Product of the Year’ award for the fourth time.

Frome man John Collins, originally from Ireland, is the owner of Straysparks Creative Metalwork which has now been shortlisted for the prestigious award four times since 2009.

His ‘Spring Bulb’ hand-forged plant support is in the running for this year’s title. Previous years have seen him reach the final stages with a bird feeder and decorative trellis modular system.

John said, “Being shortlisted is great!  As a designer and maker it’s fabulous to be getting this kind of feedback from what is arguably the best flower show in the world.

“We are a small,  local, West Country company and proud as punch to be competing with the best in the business and holding our own with ease.

“This is our third time being shortlisted in six years; it seams our design ethos of functional sculpture has filled a niche that   was waiting to be filled! Many garden plant supports  are not very eye-catching in the winter once everything has died back.

“Our spring bulb plant support is designed to be functional for the spring and summer and to give an elegant presence to the sleeping  garden over winter. It’s made from 10mm and 12mm round bar, hand-forged finials and  available in a rusted or galvanised finish.

“I’m inspired by the great tradition of creative metalwork in Frome – Singers of Frome and Fussells of Mells come to mind – I would like to emulate some of their success.”

The Chelsea Flower Show’s ‘Product of the Year’ was first run in 2011 to complement the popular ‘Plant of the Year’ competition. Entries are judged on innovation, functionality, visual appeal, quality, value for money, and environmental sustainability.

Straysparks’ plant support will be pitted against 13 other finalists including a pair of three-bladed shears, a weather-proof battery lawnmower, and  a broom, spade, and rake three-in-one tool.

All finalists’ products will be displayed at this year’s flower show at the end of May, where the winner will be announced.

For more information go to

Straysparks Creative Metalwork is based in Holcombe and was set up by Frome resident John in 2001. They pride themselves on creating a range of hand-forged functional, sculptural and affordable products to both the garden and home market. They work with the motto in mind; ‘have nothing in your home which is not beautiful and useful.’

Find out more at