RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021, The M&G Garden

Location: RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Client: M&G

Style: Show Garden

Project: Selected Projects, Show Gardens

"This is a truly inspirational garden".

Joe Swift, presenter, BBC Chelsea Flower Show

"The M&G Garden is exquisite".

Monty Don, presenter, BBC Chelsea Flower Show

Charlotte and Hugo designed The M&G Garden for RHS Chelsea 2021’s special September event, brought to life by Crocus.

The garden was designed before the pandemic to stand for the importance of beautiful and restorative green spaces in the places we need them the most – our towns and cities. The design was inspired by the belief that there is no corner too small, too unloved, or too battered that cannot be transformed into somewhere restorative and powerful for people and wildlife, while also providing many climate and environmental benefits.

The garden was imagined as a pocket park – a peaceful oasis for people and wildlife to share, and unusually for Chelsea, as a shared public garden, challenging usual notions of what a garden can be.

Known for making gardens that tell stories that reflect the spirit of place, Charlotte and Hugo imagined an industrial past for the garden – a place transformed to green but still showing echoes of the past. In doing so, the garden demonstrated how found materials and unloved remnants can be transformed into something extraordinary and authentic.

Wherever possible, the materials used to create the garden were reclaimed and re-used, including a sculpture of over 100 linear metres of repurposed metal pipes created in collaboration with the architecture and design studio Mcmullan Studio. The pipework sculpture reimagined an everyday object – steel pipes – into a beautiful part of the garden. The colours and texture contrasted with the naturalistic elements in the garden of plants, trees and water. Molten metal pour details injected the unexpected and animated the sculpture.

Water in the form of a naturalistic pool, surrounded by marginal planting, aided run-off and flood prevention and helped to encourage and support wildlife.

The garden featured plants and trees chosen for their tolerance to urban climate extremes interspersed with unusual and delicate planting to inject moments of ephemeral beauty. Structural planting included the towering forms of three Nyssa Sylvatica, and the mid canopy silvery leaves of Hippophae rhamnoides and Elaeagnus umbellata.

With the move of the show to September, the garden embraced the bold colours and textures of Autumn to celebrate the change in the seasons.

The garden will be relocated to create a new urban green space in central London.

Over 50 people, from contractors to horticulturalists, were involved in making the pocket park garden designed by Charlotte and Hugo come to life. Hear from some of them in this short film made by Crocus.