RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2022

rhs chelsea flower show 2022 – case study - view portfolio

awards: gold medal
photography: Marianne Majerus

The Mind Garden designed by Andy Sturgeon: inspired by the concept of biophilic design and the beneficial powers of nature


This year Andy wanted to celebrate the benefits of gardens and nature for our mental health and wellbeing. The garden was designed to be optimistic and uplifting and was set in a birch forest that frays into meadow.

The Mind Garden, designed by Andy Sturgeon and built by Crocus, celebrates nature’s extraordinary power to heal. The garden won a gold medal, Andy’s ninth at Chelsea – testimony to the innovative planting and stunning landscaping features.

A series of sculptural walls cascade and swirl through the sloping garden like a handful of petals tossed to the ground. At times these rough textured walls enclose peaceful seating areas, frame views and create backdrops to generous drifts of planting. The pattern becomes more turbulent with walls coming together to form narrow passages before spreading out into wider open spaces. The walls are rendered with sand, lime and shells. Wonderfully tactile, they support an overriding biophilic design ethos, which brings people up close to nature through the interaction with woodland and meadows, natural materials throughout and water, the bringer of life. Benches carved from windblown oak provide places for contemplation and conversation and the water gently pours from ceramic spouts into tranquil pools.

landscaping features

The curved walls, sculptures in themselves have been carefully rendered by artisan Guy Valentine. Highly tactile, they create a beautiful backdrop for shadows and light to play across. The wooden benches are made by British craftsman Johnny Woodford, carved from a single windblown oak, the texture again invites touch and provides a warm honey hue to the sheltered seating area, although over time these will fade to silver. Created by ceramicist Thea Thompson the water chutes are created from clay and inside have a cracked glaze reminiscent of geological features. The stone seats are cut from Purbeck stone, polished on the sides to reveal the strata within them, the smooth faces contrast with the rougher tops and backs. Purbeck stone has also been used for the hand fettled steps and gravel paths, Using the same material in many contrasting forms harmoniously binds the garden together.

The silver birch forest is a rich calming space where textured leaves and low growing woodland ferns nestle among a muted palette of white and blue flowers while tall Angellica dahurica rises out from the plants adding drama while clouds of Deschampsia cespitosa dance in the gentle breeze as they catch the dappled light.

The joyful planting in the open spaces creates an evocation of a meadow with Euphorbia wallichii, Rosa glauca and Stipa gigantea carefully repeated to give a sense of harmony among the brightly coloured flowers.

See more about the garden here.

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