The Brewin Dolphin Chelsea Flower Show Garden 2016
Rosy Hardy describes her design and inspiration for this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
The search for a Chelsea Flower Show garden designer is quite a task - selecting the right person with a design that inspires and has the potential to engage show visitors and the great British public, who tune in to the BBC TV coverage, is challenging to say the least.
For 2016 we have chosen the very talented Rosy Hardy, a celebrated nurserywoman who also happens to be the holder of an impressive 20 RHS Chelsea Gold medals for her displays of herbaceous perennials in the Great Pavilion. The Brewin Dolphin Garden 2016 will be Rosy’s Chelsea show garden debut.
Rosy has been growing herbaceous perennials commercially for 20 years at her nursery in Hampshire which she runs with husband Rob. She is a regular on national television regularly contributing to the Chelsea Flower Show and Hampton Court Flower Show TV specials. She has been a consistent medal winner at RHS Westminster Flower Shows, Chelsea Flower Show and Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, picking up a Gold for her first ever garden at Hampton Court in 2001, getting the double in 2004 and securing 7 consecutive gold medals at Chelsea from 1994-2000. She is currently the most successful female exhibitor ever in the history of the Chelsea Flower Show with more golds than both Beth Chatto and ‘Queen of Herbs’ Jekka McVicar.
The garden is entitled ‘Forever Freefolk’ and it will invite visitors and TV viewers to consider the fragility of chalk streams, a rare and vital natural resource.
There are around 200 chalk streams in the world, under threat from pollution and climate change; 160 of these are in England - one of the best examples is the River Test which flows through Freefolk Hampshire, neighbouring designer Rosy’s own nursery.
This English chalk terroir is also the landscape in which our Partner Coates & Seely have chosen to produce their award winning English sparkling wine which crafted to the highest standards of French winemaking. Our Chelsea Flower Show guests and those joining us on Rosy Hardy’s Pre-Chelsea Flower Show ‘Road Shows’ will have the opportunity to sample some of the superb Coates & Seely fizz but more about the ‘Road Shows’ and our Secret Garden events later…
The garden will take visitors on an experiential journey exploring the fragility and unique nature of these streams by casting the eye through a dried up chalk stream bed, past lush planting onwards towards the source. The garden references the changing context and form of the landscape. The sense of loss for the stream is balanced in part by the potential for renewal and the chance to turn back and contemplate the garden. It is also an opportunity to remind us of what water offers, given that chalk aquifers supply 70 percent of Southern England’s water.
The garden will showcase more than one brand new plant introduction and some breathtakingly beautiful features. Several planting zones are represented including; lush, shady, dry and a grassland area. All trees, plants and hedging are representative of those grown in this part of Southern England. The garden is designed to be a sensual, accessible and thought provoking educational experience.