Each garden at the Chelsea Flower Show tells a story and often supports a good cause. For 2019 here are some of the stories.
Gardening will Save the World by Ikea and Tom Dixon
Silver Medal Winner
Tom Dixon and IKEA were curious to see how they could make a positive impact on what we put on our plates, and hence our planet by exploring urban growing. Through their garden, they use democratic design principles to develop sustainable food growth and consumption within our homes and urban communities. Because healthy food should be available to many people. The garden explores the dichotomy of the hyper-natural and hypertech to encourage an independent approach to gardening.
The ground level of the garden is a horticultural laboratory. Here, hydroponic and aeroponic technology is shown to grow edibles and plants. The second level of the garden is an oasis of greenery, with a naturalistic aesthetic. The elevated garden encourages visitors to immerse themselves in a canopy-like ecosystem.
Force of Nature Garden by Tom Raffield
Tom Raffield showcases a new collection of flowing steam bent planters and screens which take centre stage in a new unique, architectural stand focused on wellbeing, biophilic design and zero waste.
The courtyard-esque space showcases Tom Raffield’s new design process which combines their traditional steam bending technique with complex parametric modelling to create the eye-catching biomorphic architecture and planters. Central to the design, these organic 3D oak forms are functional pieces of art that sit amongst the planting, simulating the natural features and enriching the sensory experience. Inside, a curated space of Tom Raffield steam bent products will complement the concept. Designed and handcrafted in Cornwall
The M & G Garden by Andy Sturgeon
Gold Medal Winner and Best Show Garden
Inspired by nature’s power to regenerate, this woodland landscape is interspersed with stone platforms and huge burnt timber sculptures representing natural rock formations. Populated by pioneering plants and jewel-like flowers, the landscape has been colonised by trees and ferns and primordial Equisetum and Restios giving the garden an ancient quality. Water pours from hand-crafted spouts into a series of pools and streams trickling down through the garden alongside a staircase of vast stone platforms before ending in a tranquil pool. Gravel paths wind through the predominantly green planting to a number of gathering places and viewpoints. The garden features a biodiverse range of pioneering plant species from around the world. Its dramatic composition offers a variety of textures and designs, with burnt oak timber sculptures slicing through the natural woodland.
Back to Nature Garden by the Duchess of Cambridge with Andree Davies & Adam White
Inspired by childhood memories and with families in mind, this woodland garden is a place to retreat from the world, to play, learn and discover as well as create special family memories. The woodland garden, co-designed by The Duchess of Cambridge and Landscape Architects Andree Davies and Adam White, is inspired by childhood memories triggered by the natural world and includes a beautifully crafted hollow log for children to climb through, den, waterfall, stream and tree house.
The tree house, the centrepiece of the garden, is constructed from a beautiful tree with a high platform clad in stag horn oak. A swing seat hangs from the branches, creating a place for children and families to play together. A waterfall and stream offer places to paddle, relax and build dams, while a hollow log presents a challenge of learning to balance as well as to climb.
Wild trees and shrubs and a cool calm colour palette of green and blue make the garden a relaxing and calming space, while the planting includes edible produce, plants for craft activities, food for wildlife and nectar to attract pollinators. A playful pathway bordered with beautiful foliage textures weaves through the garden, around the rocks and stepping stones.
The Donkey Sanctuary: Donkeys Matter by Annie Prebensen and Christina Williams
Silver Medal Winner and People’s Choice Award
In an arid location, a shelter provides a shady spot near a well, above which hangs a bucket. Fuller planting surrounds it. On higher ground, a bank of lavender is reached by a path that leads to a rocky area. The path represents the vital journeys that donkeys carry out on behalf of some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable communities where no ‘white van’ or family car can travel.
Donkeys – the ultimate in sustainable transport – provide access to clean, fresh water, transport food and medicine and enable children to receive an education. The international animal welfare charity, The Donkey Sanctuary celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2019 and the garden provides a showcase for the charity’s international work.
Welcome to Yorkshire by Mark Gregory
Gold Medal Winner, Best Show Garden and People’s Choice Award
The Welcome to Yorkshire Garden is inspired by the county’s proud history of industry, manufacturing and innovation, as well as its stunning natural environment.
Reminiscent of the urban regeneration that has taken place along many of Yorkshire’s canals, the garden consists of a towpath running next to a perennial meadow that borders a pair of narrow canal lock gates and a lock keeper’s lodge with private garden and vegetable patch.
This slice of Yorkshire focuses on the beauty of the natural and the cultivated, it celebrates the area’s industrial heritage and champions the rich diversity of native flora alongside cultivated varieties.
The atmospheric garden strikes a balance between the industrial and the beautiful, demonstrating that a working lock can also be a place of tranquillity and charm.
The Resilience Garden by Sarah Eberle
Best construction award (Show garden)
Commissioned to celebrate the Forestry Commission’s Centenary, the garden looks ahead to the challenges facing forests of the future. It explores how our woodlands can be made resilient to a changing climate and the increasing threats of pests and diseases.
Set within the British countryside, visitors to the garden can expect to learn about these challenges, and what action is being taken to ensure our forests are healthy for generations to come. The garden features exotic species alongside native species – specially selected to thrive in habitats that mimic existing and probable effects of climate change.
The Forestry Commission wants to inspire a collective appreciation of forests. The Resilience Garden demonstrates why trees and woods are important, the pressures they face, and that we need to be innovative and bold to protect our landscapes for nature, and for future generations to enjoy.
The Dubai Majlis Garden by Thomas Hoblyn
Silver Gilt Medal Winner
The Dubai Majlis Garden is inspired by the sculptural beauty found in arid landscapes, from wind-blown sand dunes and fluvially eroded rock to the manmade hillside terraces and the goat-browsed topiary-esque plants that colonise them. A sand-dune-inspired pavilion is the main destination and provides a calm and contemplative space for young people to meet.
A water source seemingly connects to an oasis-like pool, metaphorically alluding to nature’s ability to find its way around obstacles potentially mirroring people’s ability to innovate and think their way around challenges.
The garden uses materials to evoke a Middle Eastern feel such as white limestone and contrasting burnt Sienna gravel that mimics eroded rock and ferruginous soils often seen in arid locations. Traditional earth rendering techniques have been used to create sand-dune-like shapes.
The Camfed Garden: Giving Girls in Africa a Space to Grow by Jilayna Rickards
Gold Medal Winner, Best Space to Grow and People’s Choice Award
This is a garden that captures the spirit of Africa with its vibrant colours and exotic flavours.
A representation of female-led, climate-smart agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa, it features edible crops, so vital in helping children to thrive. Iron-enriched beans, papaya and banana trees, sweet potatoes and grain crops grow in a landscape of red soil and rocks. At its heart is a rural Zimbabwean classroom, constructed faithfully in rendered concrete blockwork, concrete roof tiles and floors.
It draws attention to the urgent need to empower and educate young women in some of the world’s poorest communities most affected by climate change. Women produce much of Africa’s food, but struggle to access land, finance or training. When you support the Campaign for Female Education – CAMFED – girls in rural Africa can stay in education, develop thriving agricultural businesses, create jobs, and deliver prosperity.