Award-winning designers Ann-Marie Powell and Matt Keightley have revealed their designs for three new learning gardens around the planned new National Centre for Horticultural Science and Learning on the Hilltop at RHS Garden Wisley, set to open in 2020.
Acting as ‘living laboratories,’ the gardens will help visitors to see how horticultural science has an impact on everyday life and discover the excitement, joy and wonder of connecting with nature.
Matt Keightley’s Wellbeing Garden will be a series of ‘garden rooms,’ enticing visitors to explore the many ways gardens can be used for physical and psychological therapy, natural health care or simply to relax in. Working alongside RHS scientists to explore the impact of the spaces on our senses and emotions, the garden will open people’s eyes to the importance of connecting with nature and teach a new generation the distinct link between gardens and good health.
Matt Keightley said: “We have an exceptional opportunity to inspire the nation with the Hilltop development, and provide a platform that will encourage visitors to consider how gardens and gardening can help improve general health and mental wellbeing. What better way to move forward than to look back and remember the reason Wisley was first acquired by the RHS, to be used as a trials and testing facility. The results could be ground breaking.”
Ann-Marie Powell’s Wildlife Garden will draw inspiration from the familiar natural environments of the British Isles, demonstrating the association between nature and gardens, and the importance of including a range of plant diversity which supports common British wildlife, especially declining species. It will also highlight the diversity of ecosystems, showcasing the role that trees, hedges, plants and water features have in cooling and mitigating against flooding and extreme temperatures.
Her World Food Garden will be a contemporary plot to plate experience, inspired by the traditional large vegetable garden but using new innovations to invigorate and educate including a maze of edible discovery, complete with outdoor demonstration kitchen, and a café garden. The experience will be a plentiful space to tempt the taste buds and encourage all who visit to grow their own at home. Working closely with the knowledgeable teams at Wisley, Ann-Marie’s designs will be filled with take-home inspiration for encouraging a healthy wildlife ecosystem and nurturing a bountiful vegetable patch.
Ann-Marie said: “We want to create energetic, diverse and inspiring garden environments which not only please aesthetically, but teach and inform in an approachable, accessible way – no matter a visitor’s culture, age, horticultural interest or experience. I hope that these new gardens will exceed expectations as unique garden experiences to be enjoyed by all.”
Tim Upson, Director of Horticulture, said: “These three incredible gardens are a perfect demonstration of our commitment to inspiring everyone to grow for a better, greener future. They will act as a living embodiment of our new science centre, sharing the many benefits of gardening through beautiful, inspiring horticulture. We are revealing these gardens today to launch the public phase of our fundraising campaign.”
The gardens form part of Christopher Bradley-Hole’s horticultural masterplan for RHS Garden Wisley. Part of the RHS’s long term investment programme in horticulture, committing £120 million from our own resources and raising £40 million from generous supporters, the National Centre for Horticultural Science and its surrounding gardens will help to bring visitors closer than ever to world-leading gardening science by demonstrating beautiful horticulture, best practice and cutting edge research into the future challenges facing the UK’s 27 million gardeners.
The RHS Wisley Appeal; Build a Greener Future, is our public appeal to RHS members and supporters to raise £2 million towards the new Centre for Horticultural Science and Learning and these three incredible gardens.