Bowles & Wyer take on challenging Chelsea location

Award-winning landscape contractors, Bowles & Wyer Contracts, will be set a challenging task when they build a uniquely elevated garden at RHS Chelsea 2017 for garden designer Darren Hawkes.

Two years after tackling the Rock Bank with Darren Hawkes for his Brewin Dolphin Garden, Bowles & Wyer Contracts will once again be taking on this challenging location, this time to build the Linklaters Garden for Maggie’s.

The unique design will allow visitors to view the garden from an elevated pathway above, while keeping it secluded from the front by a three-metre high perimeter hedge, offering a remarkable enclosed garden and an unrivalled view of the showground.

The garden, sponsored by global law firm Linklaters for Maggie’s Cancer Care Centres, is inspired by the progressive vision of the charity’s founder, the late Maggie Keswick Jencks, who understood the need for people with cancer to have access to an outdoor space away from clinical hospital environments. The result is a secret garden offering a restorative and tranquil space.

The hedge will be positioned to create wide slots at intervals through which visitors will be able to glimpse the space. Bowles & Wyer Contracts will be working with Darren and a team of specialists to create a garden that also contains some beautifully crafted steamed oak gates and a series of stone features that will come from a single cuboid of basalt concrete, broken apart to form paving and benches. The design also incorporates a water feature.

One of the more challenging aspects of the build process will be the planting, hampered by the hedge that will obstruct the usual open access to the site. In addition, the garden’s location on the rock bank will create its own logistical challenges including the need for a much bigger excavation job than on other show gardens.

Much of the construction process will take place off-site, to ensure swift and easy transition to RHS Chelsea in May.

Dan Riddleston, Director at Bowles & Wyer has overcome most challenges presented by the show in the 25 years since building his first garden at RHS Chelsea: “Darren’s garden is perfectly suited to its position and has been designed to create a wonderful, alternative view that has never been seen by visitors to the show. The real challenge will be coordinating the installation of all the features. Our job is to make sure Darren’s design is executed beautifully and that everything flows seamlessly,” he said.

The project will include a team of highly skilled craftsmen who are all very experienced at building complicated gardens under Chelsea conditions.

Darren , who worked with Bowles & Wyer Contracts two years ago at RHS Chelsea, explains that they were the natural choice for him: “Dan is renowned in the industry for his rigorous organization and is backed up by a fantastic team,” he said. “He is rarely phased by any of the challenges that Chelsea presents and I’m confident that my vision for the garden will be executed to the highest standard and with meticulous attention to detail.”

Dareen is an award-winning garden designer based on the South Cornish Coast. His designs have a balanced and harmonious feel, with a strong emphasis on the blending of surfaces and materials and loose feel to planting. He has previously won a Gold medal at Chelsea in 2015 and a Silver Gilt in 2013.

After Chelsea, the plants and other elements of the garden will be used to create a garden for the new Maggie’s Centre currently under construction at London’s Barts Hospital.

Bowles & Wyer Contracts count many high-profile garden designers and landscape architects among their clients including Andy Sturgeon, Arabella Lennnox-Boyd and Christopher Bradley-Hole and have been recipients of many industry awards including one Gold, three silver gilt and one silver medal at RHS Chelsea.

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