Award-winning garden designer Rosemary Coldstream has designed a twofold garden, uniting country and contemporary styles, for her first show garden at the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show.
Titled ‘Best of Both Worlds’, the garden has been created for an imaginary couple who share a love of gardening but have differing design tastes. Divided into two equal parts, one side displays a more traditional country garden style in a palette of blues, purple and pinks, while the other has a distinctly contemporary feel with a fusion of green foliage and splashes of bold colour.
A row of pleached Hornbeams (Carpinus betulus) forms a clever dividing line between the two plots creating a ‘hedge on stilts’ that unifies the space allowing for easy access and the chance for conversation between the gardens.
Rosemary Coldstream said: “I have always been struck by how many couples have wildly contrasting tastes in gardens. So I couldn’t resist the idea of creating two very different garden spaces in a single show garden that would literally offer the ‘best of both worlds’. Each garden area has its own distinct personality, but they are also connected in a way that feels very natural, and together they make something greater than the sum of their parts.”
Geometry plays a key role in defining the garden spaces with circular forms, a rounded water feature and soft planting beds in the traditional half of the garden juxtaposing with the clean symmetrical lines of the sunken seating area and balanced seating zones in the contemporary plot.
Each of the gardens has a prominent water feature, chosen to reflect the style of the space, complimented by carefully chosen hard landscaping materials to match each scheme. In one half, reclaimed Yorkstone and warm-toned bricks, typical of a traditional English garden, surround an urn-shaped terracotta water feature. While in the other half, sawn-edged granite pavers form a reflective pool and rectilinear seating area, complete with a contemporary fire table and modern sculpture.
Opposing planting styles can be seen in each of the plots. In the traditional side, three multi-stem Crab Apples (Malus toringo) have been chosen for their natural look while fastigiate Hornbeams (Carpinus betulus ‘Fastigiata’) provide an architectural backdrop for the modern sculpture in the contemporary side of the garden.
At ground level, perennials and shrubs that are soft and a little unruly have been utilised to give the feel of an English country garden in tones of soft pinks, white and blue. In contrast clipped hedging lends a minimalist look brightened with simple splashes of colour.
The garden is sponsored by BALI (British Association of Landscape Industries) as part of their GoLandscape programme – an education, skills and careers initiative, designed to inform and inspire new recruits and combat industry issues, including a severe skills shortage.
The garden is being created by landscaping apprentices, trainees and students who are part of GoLandscape, supported by the RHS. The students, from several UK colleges including Capel Manor and Writtle College, have been mentored by leading industry contractor David Dodd of The Outdoor Room and will gain invaluable industry experience working alongside Rosemary Coldstream to create the garden.
Rosemary said: “As a director of BALI, it is a privilege to promote the GOLandscape campaign through my first show garden and take the opportunity to bring greater awareness of the wide range of rewarding career opportunities in the landscaping industry.”