Bee friendly garden at RHS Hampton Court

A young designer’s debut at RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival will be packed with simple take-home ideas for attracting pollinating insects, to inspire city dwellers to create their own nature-friendly back gardens.

The contemporary ‘Urban Pollinator Garden‘ designed by Caitlin McLaughlin of Thrift Landscapes, will fuse design, function and wildlife-friendly values. Sponsored by Warner’s – the maker of Honeybee Gin, who are helping to fund the relocation of the garden to Cransley Hospice in Northamptonshire after the show – the design will carry a strong biodiversity message.

Designed to attract bees and other insects using on-trend yet practical features, the garden will offer a place for people to relax after a day at work, connect with nature and surround themselves with pollinators, without the complexity of maintaining beehives themselves.

Contemporary honeycomb shapes will feature throughout, forming the structure of the sculptural habitat wall packed with twigs and branches. Hexagonal paving (pictured left) will be dotted with specially made bee printed tiles to identify entrances to underground bumble nests.

A wall will feature innovative and stylish Bee Bricks, inspiring visitors to the show to replicate at home by simply placing in their garden.

The Urban Pollinator Garden has many links to Warner’s which runs multiple conservation and sustainability projects across the country including Operation Honeybee – a series of initiatives designed to fortify the UK pollinator population.

Garden Designer Caitlin (29) (pictured above) said: “Built by Conway Landscapes, this garden will represent the importance of pollinators, specifically bees, within our own gardens and the wider environment. Living in a city, it is sometimes easy to forget about wildlife and the role it plays within our ecosystem. This design allows people to have a contemporary garden that still caters for pollinators, providing them with food and nesting spaces. My aim is for it to have multiple take-home messages to allow other people to adapt or create in their own gardens.”

A peaceful planting scheme with pops of colour from perennials woven through grasses will feature. Bee-friendly plants in calming purples, whites and pinks will be used including Campanula ‘Hemelstraling’, Astrantia ‘Superstar White Giant’ and Cirsium rivulare ‘Atropurpureum’.

The Bee Bricks for the habitat wall will be supplied by Marshalls and hedging by Practicality Brown.

Caitlin is an award-winning designer who formerly worked at the Natural History Museum and Kew Gardens in plant sciences and conservation. She realised her ambition to be a garden designer, forming Thrift Landscapes with her sister. In 2016 Caitlin received a Gold Medal for her Nature and Nurture show garden at RHS Tatton and the prestigious RHS Young Designer of the Year accolade. She was the youngest of the three finalists to win the award that year. Following this, Caitlin was approached by Hillier Nurseries to gain valuable experience on their 2017 RHS Chelsea garden including mentorship by designer Sarah Eberle.

We wish Caitlin and her team every success in the build-up at RHS Hampton Court.

All images ©Caitlin McLaughlin/Warner’s