Home Horticultural shows RHS Chelsea 2019: Artisan Gardens

RHS Chelsea 2019: Artisan Gardens

Miles Stone: The Kingston Maurward Garden by Michelle Brown. Picture; RHS/Tim Sandall
Miles Stone: The Kingston Maurward Garden by Michelle Brown. Picture; RHS/Tim Sandall

Medals awarded: Perfect examples of the artisans’ crafts

Best Artisan Garden: Family Monsters Garden, designed by Alistair Bayford
People’s Choice Award: The Donkey Sanctuary Garden: Donkeys Matter

Probably my favourite RHS Chelsea category, these small gardens focus their designs on traditional artisan skills, materials and crafts, revitalised by contemporary approaches.

Things my garden would embrace if I had the time/skills/money, etc!

Family Monsters Garden – BEST ARTISAN GARDEN, GOLD

Designed by Alistair Bayford, built by idverde, sponsored by idverde and Family Action 

Celebrating 150 years of Family Action supporting families across the country and idverde’s 100 years of creating and maintaining landscapes for local communities.

The garden shows the pressures faced by every family and the journies they take to face these challenges – financial, health, wellbeing, lack of time, communication and resolving disputes.

The journey in this garden leads to a family space, where all come together to reflect. The pool offers reflection and perspective.

The High Maintenance Garden for Motor Neurone Disease Association – GOLD

Designed by Sue Hayward, built by Soar Valley Services Ltd, based on an idea by Martin Anderson MBE, founder member of the MND Association 

This is a loved space, created over many years of hard work, that is gradually being reclaimed by nature, reflecting the limitations of a person with motor neurone disease to maintain it.

The hand-built sports car is of equal passion to the garden owner – the result of a lifetime of planning for an enjoyable and active retirement.

The owner can still enjoy the garden’s sensory elements, its relaxed beauty and atmosphere while unchecked, it becomes a haven for wildlife.

Green Switch – GOLD

Designed by Kazuyuki Ishihara, built by Ishihara Kazuyuki Design Laboratory, sponsored by G-Lion

The ‘green switch’ represents the space we inhabit when we ‘switch off’ from the stresses of contemporary urban life.

The atmosphere of the garden is one of openness, featuring a two-storey structure, with a sedum-covered roof. In the upper storey is a tea room with glass walls and below is a parking space. A glass shower room is set to the side of the tea room.

Two waterfalls and a pond create differing reverberations and the ripples in the pool provide fluctuations of reflected flowers.

Walker’s Forgotten Quarry Garden – SILVER-GILT

Designed by Graham Bodle, built by Walker’s Nurseries, sponsored by Walker’s Nurseries

In a section of a disused quarry featuring redundant industrial elements that include an inspection tower, aggregate conveyor, digger bucket and old tyres, nature is reclaiming the space and a garden is growing.

Large pines, textural foliage, a small nature pond and a bench provide a relaxing space. The garden captures the industrial atmosphere of the site.

Miles Stone: The Kingston Maurward Garden – SILVER-GILT

Designed by Michelle Brown, sponsored by Miles Stone, Kingston Maurward College, Goulds Garden Centre, Greg & Will Wilks Landscaping, Holme for Gardens, The Green Gardener

Celebrating 70 years of education at Kingston Maurward College (KMC), Dorset, the garden embodies the philosophy of the college in educating of future professionals.

Fusing contemporary and traditional approaches, artisanal craft techniques can be seen in the blacksmith-created cupola, sawn stone paving and dry stone walling.

The planting creates a calming, romantic space, from the woodland understory and edge plants – Dryopteris, Polypodium, Aquilegia, Digitalis, Leucojum, Brunnera,  Ajuga and Viola passing into the sunny meadow of Hakonechlora, Acorus, Anethum, Mentha, Soleirolia and Thymus.

The Donkey Sanctuary Garden: Donkeys Matter – SILVER

Designed by Christina Williams and Annie Prebensen, built by Frogheath Landscapes and How Green Nursery, sponsored by The Donkey Sanctuary 

The garden celebrates The Donkey Sanctuary’ss 50th anniversary and the vital role donkeys – the ultimate in sustainable transport – provide access to fresh water, food and medicine.

In an arid location, a shelter provides a shady spot near a well, surrounded by fuller planting.

On higher ground, a bank of lavender is reached by a path that leads to a rocky area, representing the vital journeys that donkeys carry out on behalf of some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable communities.

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Mandy Watson is a freelance journalist and an incurable plantaholic. MandyCanUDigIt grew from the tiny seed of a Twitter account into the rainforest of information you see before you. Gardening columnist for the Sunderland Echo, Shields Gazette and Hartlepool Mail and editor of the Teesdale Mercury Magazine. Attracted by anything rebellious, exotic and nerdy, even after all these years. Passionate about northern England and gardens everywhere. Falls over a lot.


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