Chris Beardshaw Design
Chris Beardshaw Design wins 13th RHS Gold Medal
Updated: Jul 3, 2019
We are delighted to have been awarded our 13th RHS Gold Medal for our Morgan Stanley Garden at this year's RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
We wanted to create a contemporary celebration of the traditional English style plantsman’s garden, whilst ensuring that in the production of the garden, resources were managed sensitively.
We considered how gardeners can create beautiful plant-rich gardens while moving from the linear practices of ‘extract, consume, discard’ towards a more sustainable, circular approach, where materials and products are kept in circulation for as long as possible and waste is minimised.
The unashamedly plant-rich herbaceous borders are a modern take on the classic ‘English Garden’. and the stand-out specimen tree featured in the garden was the Pinus Nigra which, with its dramatically curved trunk, created a stunning piece of natural sculpture. This windblown tree was an accident of nature which would normally have been discarded for not being straight, but instead the nurseryman let it flourish. We wanted to celebrate its journey from straight to curvilinear which helps to illustrate the story behind the garden. This tree now lives on at RHS Wisley.
Other unusual flowering shrubs included Aesculus pavia/mutablis cross, Cornus alternifolia and Calycanthus floridus, which produce flowers, loved by garden pollinating insects.
The garden supported as diverse a range of plants as possible to support birds, butterflies and bees and other pollinating insects. These have all gone onto the charity Groundwork UK to benefit three schemes across east London.
The plants were grown by Kelways Nursery, in the latest recyclable taupe pots made by British company Aeroplas. These new pots are becoming increasingly visible in garden centres and have been designed for the commercial horticultural sector from UK post-consumer waste plastic. Unlike traditional black plastic pots, the taupe pots can be recycled by consumers through kerbside recycling schemes.
The groundworks for the garden were carried out with the help of the compact Volvo ECR25 Electric Excavator. It was the vehicle’s first major construction project in the world following its launch just the week before the show build began. The new electric excavator offers significant reductions in noise and carbon emissions. We were incredibly proud to showcase this new machine and they were able to enjoy its many benefits and were the quietest build on site!
We also used the latest development in ultra-low carbon, cement free concrete for the foundations of the structures. The pioneering product saves up to 88% CO2 in building projects, yet it is applied in the same way as conventional concrete with comparable concrete strengths achieved.
Even the hi-vis’ vests we wore can also be recycled after use, unlike traditional high visibility wear. The vests, from British company Pogu, are made entirely from recycled plastic bottles.
Bamboo was used for the decking and cladding in the structures as it is recognised as a fast growing, sustainable resource, which over its lifetime is carbon neutral and rear-rectangular pod was clad in an innovative material from Easyfit Stone which uses slate in a highly flexible, ultra-thin 2mm finish. The material is extremely lightweight, making it easier and more cost efficient to transport.