How We Created Our Garden at Chelsea Flower Show

The development of the garden spanned an 18 month period and including a number of visits to the Western Front, in particular the Somme which was the inspiration for the garden. Charlotte Rowe Garden Design worked with ABF The Soldiers Charity to develop the concept for No Man’s Land to ensure that it was accepted as one of the Main Avenue Show Gardens for RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2014. During this time design concepts were looked at, planting reviewed and chosen and the story of the garden was finalised. Sponsors, Coutts and Bechtel came on board and a programme of events were developed for the Show Garden.

By the end of 2013, construction drawings, modelling and specifications, which had been developed with landscape contractors, Outdoor Options and its suppliers, were finalised. Stone for the plinth, bench and steps was chosen from the quarry on the Isle of Portland, the polished concrete walls were under construction, the French limestone setts ordered from France, 7000 plants had been selected for growing on and trees chosen in nurseries in the UK and Europe.

The bare site at Royal Hospital, Chelsea was accessed by the construction team 20 days before the opening of the Show, ground broken and the garden was set out and marked up for construction. The large Acer campestre, Betula nigra and Prunus avium were craned in. The mound was formed, the water feature constructed and the framework for the concrete wall brought in. The hard landscaping took just under two weeks with seven days left to plant the four planting zones  a tight schedule and logistically complex.

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