Mediterranean inspiration for M&G at Chelsea

M&G Investments, title sponsor of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, has commissioned award-winning garden designer, Sarah Price, to create ‘The M&G Garden‘ for the 2018 RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

Sarah has designed a romanticized haven expanding on an idea that a wall, tree and seat can create a quiet and intimate place to repose. Taking inspiration from the Mediterranean, the garden celebrates the beauty and simplicity of the region’s unique landscape through the use of modest and sustainable raw materials and a vibrant planting palette.

To bring this story to life, Sarah will use Mediterranean flora and raw materials dug directly out of the earth – red aggregates, clay and terracotta – to provide a sense of warmth and richness. Textured, rammed earth walls and stacked tiles will frame the spaces, creating contrast and intrigue. The unfolding views offer tantalising glimpses of twisted wisteria stems, graceful Lagerstroemia trees, scented thyme carpets and in the heart of the garden, the rugged form of two mature pomegranate trees.

Colour is unexpected and dazzling. The use of intricate, layered planting creates an almost pointillist vision when viewed from afar. A clashing cacophony of deep pinks, lilacs and yellow flowers are held together by swards of grasses. Gravel scree plantings of Asphodelus, Dianthus and delicate poppies interweave informal pathways surrounded by low tapestries of ground hugging, scented herbs and the silvery tones of sub shrubs.

Sarah (pictured left) is delighted to be working with M&G Investments and Crocus to bring the garden to life at Chelsea: “Designing for M&G has been a hugely enjoyable experience and I will be working with an exceptional team to realise our ambitious ideas,” she said.

The garden will be a romanticised haven that will celebrate the expressive and sensual language of colour and texture, light and shadow. I will be experimenting with an incredibly tactile palette of materials and an exciting range of plants, all of which originate from Mediterranean climates. The garden will be entirely imaginary; it’s a space that I would love to have for myself,” adds Sarah.

Sarah was co-designer of the 2012 Gardens at the Olympic Park in East London and planting consultant for the post-Games legacy design. She designed the Daily Telegraph Garden at the Chelsea Flower Show in 2012 and was awarded a Gold Medal. She has also won a gold medal at RHS Hampton Court Flower Show and three silver at previous Chelsea shows.

This year she will be working with Crocus, winner of 25 Gold Medals at Chelsea and 9 Best in Show awards in the last 12 years.

Anne Richards, Chief Executive of M&G Investments explains that 2018 will mark the ninth year of M&G as title sponsor of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show: “Our continued partnership has enabled us to make an important and lasting contribution to the horticultural world, supporting gardening enthusiasts and inspiring the next generation to preserve our environment for the future,” she said. As Anne points out, the M&G Garden aims to show what can be achieved when you bring imagination, dedication and conviction together with long experience and world class expertise.

Ann is delighted that this year, what is emerging is something truly special: “Sarah’s design will provide a beautiful and contemplative space for everyone to enjoy and be inspired by,” says Anne.

The 2018 RHS Chelsea Flower Show runs from 22nd to 26th May 2018.

Phot credits: all images ©M&G and Sarah Price