Chelsea 2023: A Guide to Horatio's Garden from Harris Bugg
Charlotte Harris from Harris Bugg Studio tell us more about the design for Horatio's Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2023
The Harris Bugg Studio is creating Horatio's Garden, sponsored by Project Giving Back, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2023. It is one of 12 main show gardens this year, including gardens from Cleve West, Sarah Price and Darren Hawkes.
Listen to Charlotte Harris talk about the garden on our podcast
Horatio’s Garden is the national charity that creates outdoor spaces for NHS spinal injury centres in the UK. Harris Bugg's garden for the charity is the first Main Avenue garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show that deals with accessibility and puts people with accessible needs at the heart of the design. The garden, which is being relocated after the show to the Princess Royal Spinal Injuries Centre in Sheffield, has been designed entirely with the input and feedback of patients, to understand what they would prioritise.
“We’ve done lots of listening,” says Charlotte Harris. “It is person-led design.” The garden has a cooling woodland feel – dappled shade with pockets of sunlight – and features trees including acers and birches, including lesser-known hardy geraniums, such as Geranium nodosum ‘Tony’s Talisman’, as well as aquilegias, martagon lilies, amsonias and Aruncus ‘Horatio’. It features a timber-shingle-clad garden shelter, created with architect Andrew Mcmullan, who designed the pipeline sculptures in Harris Bugg’s 2021 Chelsea garden. Inside will be a new artwork of 1,000 thumbprints in clay – a collaborative piece that speaks to the inclusive nature of the design.
The pathway routes have organic shapes, with paths wide enough for wheelchair users and hospital beds to turn easily. For the surface, Charlotte and Hugo have developed an innovative new terrazzo-like paving material that is permeable, cement-free and uses crushed waste aggregate, but can be laid flat with hidden joints, so it is seamless for wheels to roll over. “It is the most technically difficult garden we’ve ever made,” says Charlotte, “but it wouldn’t be Chelsea if we weren’t sweating.”
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What to look out for
1 A garden pod, designed with Mcmullan Studio, that will offer year-round shelter. Clad in shingles, it will house an interesting new collaborative artwork. “We are collecting 1,000 thumbprints in clay from patients in all the spinal injury units that have gardens, and also everyone involved in the making of this garden,” says Charlotte.
2 Stone cairns inspired by those seen in the Peak District on the edge of Sheffield, to represent guidance in finding your way.
3 A table water feature set at wheelchair height, with gentle water movement.
4 Woodland-style planting with shade-tolerant flowering perennials.
Find out more about Harris Bugg’s garden on our Talking Gardens Chelsea podcast.
More on the 2023 RHS Chelsea Flower Show:
Chelsea Flower Show 2023: tickets, information, dates and what's on
Chelsea Flower Show Main Show Gardens 2023: the full list
10 essentials for visiting the RHS Chelsea Flower Show
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