The year may just be starting and the RHS Chelsea Flower Show may seem a long way off to some, but Landform have long been working on three exciting gardens for the May 2016 event.
Mark Gregory says: “Chelsea always causes a buzz in the office as we start serious preparations and final planning. This year we have a very exciting year, with three complex gardens to build and a technical trade stand to deliver. It’s great that we can get all of our teams involved, especially our younger team members and apprentices, to varying degrees. I have never forgotten that feeling of awe the first time I went to Chelsea to work as a young man, and I feel it’s essential that all our people get to experience that Chelsea excitement.”
We are all very excited to be collaborating yet again with Hartley Botanic, but this time as well as delivering their trade exhibit, we are designing the first Hartley Botanic Show Garden. Our lead designer, Catherine MacDonald has designed the 10m x 10m Show Garden that celebrates the British-engineered glasshouse structures created by Hartley Botanic.
The garden features a new bespoke Hartley Botanic glasshouse attached to the end of a walled garden and built emerging from a pool as the focal point of the design: taking inspiration from Thomas Heatherwick’s Bombay Sapphire Glasshouse on the River Test, in Hampshire.
With the planting, Catherine has given herself the challenge of working with three planting styles in the one garden. Carnivorous, tropical and aquatic plants will be associated with the glasshouse, a mixture of flowering perennials and vegetables on the other side of the brick wall, in what ‘represents the end of a ‘walled garden’, and a woodland scheme that wraps around the central water feature & glasshouse. The latter will involve British native trees under-planted with more perennial species than would normally be seen in a natural woodland setting.
Catherine says that she is thrilled to be working with the Hartley Botanic team again, having designed for them on three previous occasions at Chelsea Flower Show. She says “It’s working together with what seems like ‘a team of old friends’ that I enjoy most about the collaboration: the trust engendered over the years working together promotes a fulfilling working relationship and inspires both companies to greater creative heights.”
The second Show Garden we are working on is the Watahan East & West Garden for garden designers Tea Yano and Chihori Shibiyama of Watahan Design Lab. This garden is set in a city space, a meld of London & Tokyo: the context is a celebration of cultures, how they differ, but also how there are similarities.
This garden also exhibting under the banner of the RHS’s “Greening Grey Britain” campaign, demonstrating how to “green” an urban space. The design will use two recycled storage containers, which will function as living spaces, but also act as a metaphor for cultural exchange, “carrying” the garden philosophies of the East & the West respectively.
The planting design will feature the minimalist style of Japanese Zen gardens, but also the loose, informal planting style of an English Country Garden. The colour palette will denote the difference between East and West, using white and pale yellow for Japan and orange, pink and purple for the UK. The similarities between cultures will be represented by the tree Malus floribunda, a species which is familiar to both countries, and the unifying colour of green foliage.
The third show garden that we will be building is the Chelsea Barracks Show Garden, designed by Jo Thompson and sponsored by Qatai Diar.
The design takes inspiration from the heritage of the Chelsea Barracks site and the style of the newly developed Chelsea Barracks site, which neighbours the Royal Hospital for the Chelsea Flower Show. Paying homage to history, the design features a tidal rill that represents the lost River Westbourne, and a bronze sculpture in tribute to the Barrack’s former residents. The planting will include roses to represent the listed Rose Garrison Chapel.
We will bring you more updates here on the progress of the gardens regularly as we get closer to the prestigious show.