Don't miss our list of Sanctuary Gardens at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2023

This year the gardens at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show are divided into six categories:

Main show gardens
Sanctuary gardens
All about plants
Balcony gardens
Container gardens
• Houseplant studios

RHS / Luke MacGregor

Discover the 2022 RHS Chelsea Flower Show Sanctuary Garden medal winners

Read about the 2023 Sanctuary Gardens.

What is a Sanctuary Garden at Chelsea?

The Sanctuary gardens at Chelsea are smaller gardens that highlight the benefits of gardening on our wellbeing.

There are 12 Sanctuary Gardens at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2022, including gardens from Chelsea veterans such as Kate Gould, Thomas Hoblyn and Tony Woods.

Here's what we know about the gardens.

A Garden Sanctuary by Hamptons

Design: Tony Woods Garden Club London

Features a carbon-neutral small garden cabin with a shou-sugi-ban (charred wood) exterior. The contemporary structure contrasts with rounded glacial boulders, natural stepping stones over trickling water and a canopy of birch and pine trees. The garden is rich in pollinating plants and water for wildlife, with densely planted trees to encourage birds into the garden. This is an immersive space to encourage connection with the surrounding power of nature and plants. "The garden is about taking a typical urban space and smothering it with nature,” says Tony.

A Swiss Sanctuary

Design: Lilly Gomm

Inspired by travels to Switzerland, this garden celebrates the variation the Swiss climate brings, mixing alpines and Mediterranean planting to illustrate the country’s distinctive and rich natural landscape within the boundaries of an urban garden: "Swiss native flora is so much more varied than most people realise," explains Lilly. Large stones represent the mountains, a pool recalls the Swiss lakes with an iron bench which recalls the train tracks ‘synonymous with sustainable travel within Switzerland as well as embodying the country’s overall approach and commitment to sustainability’. Read our interview with Lilly Gomm.

Circle of Life

Design: Yoshihiro Tamura

A place to escape the digital world, with different heights in the design depicting the highs and lows of life, and curves which recall the twists and turns of ‘our everyday journey’. Water is harnessed by a traditional Japanese wooden water wheel with recycled wood creating a contemporary pergola roof. The planting includes many herbs, wild grasses and vegetables with practical applications. The plant colours represent human emotions: green for healing, red for passion, yellow for warmth, white for purity and black for everyday troubles and worries.

Connected, by Exante

Design: Taina Suonio
Taina Suonio has helped plant many Chelsea show gardens and was the first Finn to create a Chelsea garden in 2019. She is now returning with her third, a calm woodland sanctuary. It has a larger-than-life oak stump for ‘chic teleworking’ with a water-feature window on the back wall and an oak silhouette window on the front. The planting is inspired by layered European woodland, with serene and limited colours. “I grew up in the countryside, and as a child always felt secure in the forest,” says Taina. Fittingly, the garden will move to a children’s hospital after the show.

Kingston Maurwood The Space Within Garden

Design: Michelle Brown
A lush and tranquil garden celebrating Dorset horticulture, where the French Riviera meets the Jurassic coast. A contemporary arch leads to a secret jungle of foliage planting inspired by Mediterranean sub-tropical gardens and punctuated by specimen architectural plants. Elevated paths lead to a platform den for rest and relaxation. The garden boundaries provide wildlife habitats using fallen trees, dead wood and waste timber.

Out of the Shadows

Design: Kate Gould

Designed as a contemporary spa garden with hardy tropical plants creating a relaxing space. A place to exercise and socialise, revitalising body and mind, features include a swim spa, climbing bars, yoga space and seating areas. The planting has a strong evergreen backbone using interesting leaf forms as a robust choice that illustrates how a predominantly green planting palette can be uplifting all year round. “More than ever we are asking our gardens to work really hard – particularly in a city garden," says Kate. "The pandemic has made us value that space and consider it more mindfully.” Don't miss Kate Gould on her perfect evergreens.

The Body Shop Garden

Design: Jennifer Hirsch

A conceptual garden telling a story of environmental and societal regeneration. A series of Corten steel arches divide three segments of planting to tell the regeneration story from charcoaled diminished forest floor to a verdant explosion of plantlife. The rhythm of the arches defines the passing of time. ‘The garden was inspired by the new generation of change-makes and activists… to convey a positive message – if we take the time to nurture ourselves and our environment, life can thrive.’

The Boodles Travel Garden

Design: Thomas Hoblyn
In 1962 Anthony Wainwright, grandfather of the current chairman of Boodles, travelled around the world in 16 days. This garden celebrates that journey with planting from around the world creating a calm sanctuary in a global garden: "We had access to old photographs of the trip and there were some really strong images that have informed the garden.” Plants were chosen for interesting form and habit and below the structural planting is a woodland stumpery-style underplanting with a trail of blue and burnt orange and mounded beds partially obscuring views to create a sense of discovery.

The Place2Be Securing Tomorrow Garden

Design: Jamie Butterworth

This garden is for children but there is not a slide, swing nor piece of climbing equipment in sight. It’s been designed as a real garden, with its presence at Chelsea intended simply as a pit stop that will raise awareness for mental-health charity Place2Be before it is installed at Viking Primary School in north London. “The garden is essentially a sanctuary space, a place that can stimulate conversation and where children will feel safe," explains Jamie.

The Plantsman’s Ice Garden

Design: John Warland
This garden is highlighting the dangers of ice melt at the Arctic. All-summer ice is set to disappear within the next 20 years but this permafrost, which is five times the size of the EU, holds around 1.5 million trillion tonnes of carbon. The garden includes a monolithic melting 15 tonne ice cube, surrounding a botanical bounty which might ensure the onward survival of humankind.

The SSAFA Garden, sponsored by CCLA

Design: Amanda Waring

The backdrop of the Royal Hospital Chelsea is the perfect setting for this garden’s military connection. It offers a secluded area, enclosed by timber walls and hedging, within a larger garden, providing a calm retreat for those staying at Norton House. This centre, run by Armed Forces charity the SSAFA, offers free, safe and supportive accommodation to families whose loved ones are receiving treatment for injuries at the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre near Loughborough. The winged roof structure echoes the lines of Norton House, and the sound of an infinity water feature and movement of layered planting will restore and lift the spirits. After the show, this garden will be moved to Norton House.

The Stitchers’ Garden

Design: Frederic Whyte
The garden celebrates Fine Cell Work, a charity that teachers prisoners needlework. Visitors will view the garden through a steel framed ‘cell’ with woven willow panels replicating the dimensions of a prison space. There is also a larger pavilion which serves as a metaphor for the space in which creative exchange between prisoners, designers and Fine Cell work takes place.