Perennial to celebrate 180 years with Chelsea garden

Perennial will return to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in May 2019 with a Great Pavilion garden designed by first-time Chelsea designers Colm Joseph and Duncan Cargill. Inspired by Sir Roy Strong’s autobiographical The Laskett Gardens, ‘The Perennial Lifeline Garden’, highlights the long-standing and ever-evolving role of Perennial in supporting everyone working in and retired from horticulture.

The Chelsea design in the Great Pavilion will capture the spirit of Sir Roy Strong CH and Julia Trevelyan Osman’s The Laskett Gardens, bequeathed to Perennial in 2015 by Sir Roy.

Speaking about the show garden, Colm says: “We are honoured to have been chosen to represent Perennial at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2019 and to work with Sir Roy Strong CH on the exhibit. We hope our design resonates with visitors to the show who will be able to walk through the garden, exploring the familiar, reimagined.”

Duncan points out that the garden celebrates design heritage but reinterprets classical principles and elements with an eye on the future: “Just as Perennial has adapted over the last 180 years to help countless people in the horticulture industry manage challenging times, we hope the garden takes the best from the past while embracing the future,” he says.

The garden will feature a classical rose garden re-imagined as a more sustainable and low maintenance ‘rose meadow’ with roses intermingling with ornamental grasses, perennials and annuals to create a striking and texturally rich display with long seasonal interest.

To provide formality and structure, three forms of hedge (beech, yew and hornbeam) are asymmetrically arranged and clipped to varying heights, while classical sculpture is replaced by the organic forms of multi-stem trees.

In a modern reimagining of a classical colonnade, a combination of freestanding metal screens, stone, and topiary columns will enable visitors to move around and walk beneath the cascades supplied by two fountains.

Anita Bates, Director of Marketing and Fundraising at Perennial points out that their aim in 2019 is simply to reach more people than ever before with the message that Perennial is here to help everyone who works in horticulture: “From gardeners to greenkeepers, foresters to landscape designers, if you work with plants, trees or turf, we’re your lifeline when times get tough. We’re thrilled with Colm and Duncan’s design and look forward to speaking to visitors about how Perennial is both rooted in the history of the UK horticulture industry and evolving to ensure its people flourish well into the future,” she said.

The Show Garden was chosen following a design competition run jointly by Perennial and the London College of Garden Design.

The designers, Colm and Duncan, are alumni of the London College of Garden Design and run separate garden design practices. Their collaboration for Perennial at RHS Chelsea brings together their complementary skills and design approaches to explore the theme of celebrating heritage while looking to the future.

For more information on Colm and Duncan please visit: |

Perennial gives free and confidential advice and support to everyone working in or retired from horticulture and their families. Information about their work can be found at: