Innovative ideas highlighted on Morgan Stanley Garden

The Morgan Stanley Garden at the 2019 RHS Chelsea Flower Show will explore how gardeners can create beautiful herbaceous-rich spaces while at the same time managing resources more sensitively.

Designed by award-winning designer and renowned plantsman, Chris Beardshaw, the garden will consider how the use of innovative ideas, materials and products can be applied throughout the entire process of creating a Show Garden, from the original design, the growing of the plants through to the garden’s final construction.

Chris has been inspired by the UK’s love of gardens and explores how gardeners can continue the tradition of creating beautiful herbaceous spaces, whilst managing resources more sensitively.

The design looks at how gardeners can move away from the linear practices of ‘extract, consume, discard’ towards a more sustainable, circular approach, where materials and products are kept in circulation as long as possible and waste is minimised.

The garden will include several design motifs that subtly express this transition from linear to circular. The formal porcelain terrace at the front of the garden is punctuated by large topiary Taxus domes; the straight lines of the pathway gradually fragment into a more sinuous route which weaves through the planting and over a central rill, towards relaxation pods at the rear of the garden.

Chris hopes that The Morgan Stanley Garden will inspire conversations around some of the more sustainable choices that are becoming available to garden lovers today.

Trees are a key element in the design of the garden and we will see feature specimens including a large Pinus Nigra with a dramatically curved trunk which creates a stunning piece of natural sculpture in the garden. This windblown tree was an accident of nature which would generally have been discarded by a nursery but instead the nurseryman decided to celebrate its idiosyncracy and let it flourish.

A plantsman at heart, Chris is renowned for his florally rich designs and this year’s Morgan Stanley Garden feature over 2000 herbaceous perennials which are being grown by Kelways in Somerset, one of the UK’s oldest independent nurseries. As part of Chris’ desire to reduce the environmental footprint of the garden, Kelways have agreed to grow the plants in the latest taupe plastic pots which have been made for the commercial sector from UK post-consumer plastic waste.

Traditional herbaceous are very beautiful but often considered to be labour and resource intensive. As part of his design Chris wants to show that with a considered selection of plant cultivars and with an emphasis on suitable plant combinations, borders can flourish and a self-sustaining plant community can be established.

Chris (pictured left) has carefully selected a range of herbaceous plants which are being grown without the use of additional heat or heavy fertilisers to bring them to show condition. Plants include unusual but resilient perennials such as Amsonia tabernaemontana, Euphorbia pasteurii and Oenothera versicolour.

As well as plant selections, Chris and his team have considered what innovative and more sustainable choices can be applied to the construction of the garden. The team will be working with some of the latest ‘greener’ materials and products. More details of which will be revealed in Spring.

Morgan Stanley have always championed the reuse of their Show Gardens and this year the thousands of plants and high-quality landscape materials will be repurposed within three selected London based community garden projects.

Commenting on the project Chris said: ‘I wanted to take the opportunity of creating this garden to use and showcase a number of innovative and new materials that I hope will offer some inspiration and ideas for garden visitors.  We are also excited to be working with some fantastically talented craftspeople who will be revealing new works especially for the garden.’

Head of Morgan Stanley EMEA, Clare Woodman, expressed her delight to be working with Chris once again on what will be his fifth garden for the sponsor at the Chelsea Flower Show: “We hope that this year’s garden will inspire conversation around tomorrow’s gardens and also have a long-lasting life after the show, when it is donated to community projects close to Morgan Stanley’s London office,” she said.

Chris is involved with a wide range of horticultural projects and educational initiatives. His broadcasting career spans over 19 years and he can currently be he heard as a regular panellist on Radio 4’s Gardeners’ Question Time and seen on BBC’s weekly Beechgrove Garden. For details of all Chris’ latest projects please visit:

Picture credit: Morgan Stanley Garden diagram ©Chris Beardshaw, picture of Chris ©Reckless Gardener credit Emma Campbell Photography