The Queen visits the RHS garden designed by Nigel Dunnett at the Chelsea Flower Show

Photo credit: the RHS

Professor Nigel Dunnett, from the Department of Landscape, has designed the Royal Horticultural Society’s main garden at the Chelsea Flower Show in London (May 23rd-May 27th) to highlight the RHS’s national campaign ‘Greening Grey Britain’, of which he is the RHS Ambassador.

The garden focused on new urban development, and contained a full-scale two-storey apartment block structure, with balcony spaces and small ground-floor terraces, and an associated communal or shared garden.

Photo: Nigel Dunnett Photo: Nigel Dunnett

Nigel pulled in and coordinated a wide range of partners to deliver the scheme. These included the Grovesnor Estate in London, who contributed the apartment block structure: the London office of ARUP, who contributed a new type of bio-diverse living wall that Nigel has been collaborating on with them; and Dulux who sponsored the urban street art that communicated the urban regeneration context of the garden. The art work was made by Sheffield street artist Jo Peel.

The garden presented a vision of future landscape-led urban regeneration, and embodied sustainable and ecological principles, but in a very ‘smart’, clean and contemporary setting, with an angular design language that created large gathering spaces for parties or receptions, but at the same time enabled intimate, human-scale experiences within a very green setting. Sustainable drainage and storm-water basins linked the building with the landscape, and ‘ornamental’ planting around the building, on the living walls, and in containers, was productive and edible.

Photo: Nigel Dunnett Photo: Nigel Dunnett
Photo: Nigel Dunnett Photo: Nigel Dunnett

The planting in the garden contained all the ‘Sheffield School’ principles of dramatic colour, emerging layers, and high diversity, and was composed of perennials mixed with structural shrubs and multi-stemmed trees.

During the build, several students from the Department of Landscape, both undergraduate and postgraduate, helped with the planting and construction.

The garden is being relocated via a competition organised via the BBC One Show to a primary school in Swansea. During the Royal Gala day, Nigel introduced the garden to the Queen, who was presented with a bouquet in the garden by pupils from the Swansea school.

Photo: Nigel Dunnett Photo: Nigel Dunnett