Harris Bugg Studio appointed to design the Kitchen Garden at RHS Garden Bridgewater

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Charlotte Harris and Hugo Bugg appointed by RHS to help deliver “jewel in the crown” at the fifth public garden for the world’s largest gardening charity.

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Harris Bugg Studio are delighted to announce they have been appointed to design the new Kitchen Garden at RHS Garden Bridgewater following a national competition.

Set within the historic walls of the original Victorian Kitchen Garden, the design developed by our studio references the history and heritage of the surrounding area, while the horticultural vision combines beautiful edible planting with practical, traditional and new ideas to inspire visitors to grow their own at home.

The design traces part of the route of the Bridgewater Canal, situated to the south of the site, as the bones of the navigation through the garden. Often described as England’s first canal and a model for those that followed across the country, the Canal revolutionised industry and transportation in the area. Overlaid on the navigational design are the abstracted field boundaries of the area from the same period. These form the bed layouts and smaller pathways through the larger character planting areas. These allow visitors of all ages and mobility levels to become immersed in the planting of the garden, as well as allowing access for maintenance.

Within the new garden four distinct spaces will be created, each with an individual character and learning experience: the Permaculture Garden; the Classic Fruit and Vegetable Garden; the Ornamental Productive Garden; and the Walls, against which fruit trees will be trained in a variety of forms to celebrate the very best of horticultural training techniques.

The horticultural vision for the garden is to inspire visitors to re-imagine how they experience productive growing. Evoking the spirit of Victorian walled kitchen gardens by demonstrating a wide range of plants for a purpose – fruit and vegetables, medicines (both human and veterinary), herbs, disinfectants and pesticides, perfumes, dyes and more – the garden will also explore more unusual species and growing techniques. It will showcase companion planting and wildlife-friendly plants throughout the garden to attract pollinators and natural predators.

Marcus Chilton-Jones, RHS Bridgewater’s Curator, commented: “Charlotte Harris and Hugo Bugg are pioneering design talents of their generation, and I could not be more delighted that their innovative plan for the Kitchen Garden will be made real. Their ideas have truly captured the spirit of RHS Garden Bridgewater in reflecting the wonderful history and unique identity of this area whilst creating an important, forward-looking source of knowledge and inspiration for gardeners across the North West”. He added, “The 11 acre Walled Garden is the jewel in the crown at RHS Garden Bridgewater. Charlotte and Hugo’s Kitchen Garden sits at the heart of this, which also includes our wellbeing garden, community teaching allotments and the Paradise Garden, designed by Tom Stuart-Smith.