Malta inspires 2017 Chelsea garden for M&G

banner-the-mg-garden-2017M&G Investments, title sponsor of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, has commissioned award-winning landscape designer James Basson as its garden designer for the 2017 Show.

James will take inspiration from the Mediterranean landscape of Malta, drawing on ecological challenges, such as scarcity of water and the need to recycle and compost – challenges that we need to consider to protect the environment.

The garden will comprise a garden within a quarry, each with its own ecology, from coastal to woodland. Two imposing monolithic pillars of Maltese limestone will form the centerpiece of the garden, with the remaining space separated into a series of unique micro-climates.

Each space will reflect how nature has adapted to reclaim a man-made landscape, using a naturalistic planting style which provides texture and structure. The garden will bear all the hallmarks of a traditional Mediterranean garden but with an innovative edge.

The design will feature plants which have not been seen in the UK before, thanks to the Maltese government who have given James special permission to use them. Specific plants that are unique to Malta, showing off the incredible diversity of its ecologiesa will include: Euphorbia melitense, Darniella melitense, Limonium melitense, Mattiola incana subsp. Melitense.

Yellow will be the predominant colour in the flowering plants – typical of a Maltese spring time.

James Basson is delighted to be returning to RHS Chelsea: “I am delighted to be working with M&G Investments to bring this garden to life. For ‘The M&G Garden’, I want to capture the principles of ecological sustainability and the urgent need for action to preserve the fragile balance of our planet. Designing for M&G has so far been a hugely enjoyable experience and I will be working with a fantastic team this year to bring the vision to life,” he said.

James returns to Chelsea following his gold award-winning Provence garden in 2016. He will be working with Crocus with the support of the Gaia foundation in Malta, Filippi (France), Clancavare (Italy), Guadissart (France) and Kelways (UK).

The 2017 RHS Chelsea Flower Show marks the eight year of M&G Investments sponsorship. Jacqui Haskins, M&G marketing director is thrilled that they will once again be supporting the prestigious event: “Sponsoring RHS Chelsea for this many years has enabled M&G to make a real difference in horticulture, particularly in helping to inspire more young people to get in to gardening. ‘The M&G Garden’ is a symbol of sustainability and solutions that stand the test of time, themes that reflect M&G Investments’ own approach. We are confident that James’ creative design will once again create a show-stopping garden for all to enjoy.”

James Basson works in the South of France and together with Scape Design has established a reputation for creating low maintenance, dry gardens that mix contemporary design with traditional skills. He creates sustainable landscapes that are sympathetic to the natural environment, using young plants that are compatible with the native climate and soil, requiring little maintenance.

James’ last two gardens at RHS Chelsea (both Gold awards) proved very popular with Show visitors and one feels sure that his design for 2017 will be just as inspiring and creative.

Banner credit: ©James Basson