One of the most striking show gardens at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show was The Morgan Stanley Garden designed by Cotswold-based garden designer Chris Beardshaw in association with Studio Clark + Co. Thoughtfully designed but also eco-friendly, this green space offered a herbaceous-rich space, while managing resources more sensitively in the light of concerns over climate change.
Not just green-fingered, but thinking green, Beardshaw is keen to move towards a ‘circular gardening practice’. To this end he considered every aspect of creation, from the growing of plants to the materials used, to ensure minimal waste and durability. The garden was constructed using C battery-powered tools and an electrical battery-powdered excavator with lower carbon emissions. Meanwhile, plant pots throughout are recyclable and all lighting is low-voltage LED.
Landscaping incorporated a formal, linear terrace at the front is punctuated by large topiary domes; the straight lines of the blueish-grey pathway – in super sustainable porcelain – gradually fragmented into a more sinuous and circuitous route. This wandered over the rill and through full herbaceous borders with pretty bursts of lilac and purple, towards two contemporary ‘relaxation pods’.
These areas at the rear incorporated outdoor furniture by Minotti London (the Aston Cord and Colette outdoor ranges) and sculptural metal side tables by Tom Faulkner, lending an architectural focus to the garden. Dining furniture was semi-enclosed by a contemporary trellis that curved up and over from the sustainable glulam laminated timber floor and a more traditional-style pavilion with lounge seating ended the garden.
Studio Clark + Co collaborated with skilled surface-design artisans Benjamin Raymond to create a feature wall that resembled weathered copper. This was illuminated by Cameron Design House’s Mahlu hoop-shaped pendant and the wall-hung circular Lahti light, reminiscent of a setting sun. Both eco-friendly with low environmental impact and beautifully designed, no wonder it scooped a Gold Medal.
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