Tom Stuart-Smith designs biggest 2019 Chelsea garden

The RHS Bridgewater Garden at the 2019 RHS Chelsea Flower show, designed by Tom Stuart-Smith will be the biggest garden at the show and herald the creation of the RHS’s new garden in Salford due to open in summer 2020.

The creation of RHS Garden Bridgewater in Salford is one of the most significant and impactful events in the gardening charity’s 215 year history that will see them creating a stunning 154 acre garden by breathing new life into the grounds of were once the historic gardens of Worsley New Hall.

The Bridgewater scheme is one of the largest gardening projects in Europe and is being master planned by award winning landscape architect Tom Stuart-Smith who is also designing the Chelsea feature garden.

The feature garden will not be judged and is being supported by Visit Britain, who are celebrating their 50th anniversary and promoting UK gardens as a key attraction for international visitors.

The Chelsea feature garden will be double the size of a normal Show Garden and will be designed as a collage of the proposed Salford garden around the new Welcome building at Bridgewater. The garden is being designed to be fresh, big, contemporary and inclusive, all the attributes that will feature at Bridgewater.

Two large steel space frames are to be used at Bridgewater to define the main entrance path and entrances to the 11 acre walled garden – at Chelsea they will be used in a less formal way to create a sense of containment and drama, signifying the boldness of the RHS vision. It will be subdivided by paths, which will be fully accessible by the public following the pattern of paths similar to that at Bridgewater. Planting will be composed of three distinct components with a canopy created by a group of Cornus kousa. Under this the rest of the planting will consist of clipped domes of Beech, with the remainder of the planting consisting of extensive perennial meadow, giving the feeling of the impressive scale of the RHS Garden Bridgewater.

The Chelsea show feature garden will be relocated and reconfigured at RHS Garden Bridgewater after the show.

Sue Biggs, RHS Director General says: “Of course working with Tom was always going to be remarkable and we knew he would deliver an extremely special master plan for the RHS’s new fifth garden, but he has surpassed even our greatest expectations with the impressive, beautiful, fresh and contemporary designs he’s come up with.

Through RHS Chelsea we’ll be able to give the world a taste of what this extraordinary new RHS Garden will be like when it opens in 2020, and we hope to engage even more people with its development.  We are so happy to have already made so many new friends and supporters in the Salford area, and also to those who have been wonderful enough to donate towards the creation of the garden, especially the Garfield Weston Foundation.”

Tom admits that he never thought he would do ‘another Chelsea’ but says: “This is too wonderful an opportunity; to publicise the extraordinary project at RHS Bridgewater which I am so proud to be a part of.”

The RHS is currently fundraising for the final £5.5 million to open the garden.

Image of garden strictly ©RHS/Tom Stuart-Smith