The Welcome to Yorkshire Garden
At this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show I couldn’t wait to visit the Welcome to Yorkshire show garden, which was designed by Mark Gregory and built by Mark and Landform Consultants. This show garden took a picturesque, heart-warming view of the Yorkshire countryside to the centre of London, where I was there, ready to welcome the garden with open arms! I am a country girl, but I don’t get to spend as much time in the country as I would like. My heart aches to be in a meadow, a forest, or anywhere in the beautiful British countryside; after visiting the Welcome to Yorkshire Garden, it was truly a delight to be reminded of just how beautiful this special part of the country is.
The Welcome to Yorkshire Garden has been designed to celebrate Yorkshire’s beautiful scenery, landscape, natural materials, and artisan food producers. The garden represents a Wensleydale cheese maker’s cottage garden, which is set in the Yorkshire Dales, on the edge of a woodland, just behind a tumbling beck, or brook, flanked by a buttercup meadow. The scene is so idyllic! The garden features dry stone walls, a vegetable garden, herbaceous perennials, and wild flowers.
I honestly couldn’t fault the Welcome to Yorkshire garden. I would have moved into the delightful stone cottage in this garden if I could have got away with it! Mark Gregory’s love of Yorkshire and his phenomenal talent, both as a designer and a contractor, shone across this garden to warm my heart and lift my spirits.
Mark Gregory was so keen to take an authentic view of Yorkshire to Chelsea that he collected many tiny details to adorn the garden, many of these were adornments that most people would not think of, or want to collect for their own gardens, including little scraps of wool that were added to the fences, where a passing sheep may have left a fragment of their wool behind. Something else that sheep leave behind has become famous on the Welcome to Yorkshire Garden, as Mark brought real cow pats with him to place in the garden! Yes, really! The story of ministers and celebrities marvelling at genuine cow pats was too much for the press to resist, the story even made it into the Times, as the Welcome to Yorkshire team demonstrated the lengths that Mark had gone to, to bring an authentic representation of the Yorkshire countryside to Chelsea.
The stone used in the Welcome to Yorkshire Garden has been sourced from the Bolton Estate, the home of Harry, the 8th Lord of Bolton and his family, in Yorkshire. The Estate is currently in the midst of a restoration project, where old stone wall remains are being taken down and cleaned up, ready to be rebuilt anew. The timing was perfect, as the Landform team were able to borrow the stone in the interim to use in the Welcome to Yorkshire Garden, at Chelsea. As the stones were pulled and dug out of the grounds on the north side of the Estate, they had not been seen clearly for a great many years, with soil, and a build-up of natural materials covering and obscuring the stones. Richard Clegg and his two sons built the creamery in the Welcome to Yorkshire Garden; as they were preparing the stones and rubbing down the large stone that was to set to form the quoin stone at the side corner of the building they realised that something had been carved into the stone – it was Roman numerals, depicting the number 18! Very apt for a garden being created in 2018!
They are such a nice team at Landform Consultants, I always look forward to speaking to them. Mark and his wife Louise are both from Yorkshire, Louise doesn’t work for Landform she doesn’t even work in the horticultural industry, but they were both equally keen to perfect the garden in tribute to their home county. Louise carefully painted the door of the creamery in the garden and helped with many of the finishing touches.
Although Wisteria is a May flowering climber, its flowering period can be somewhat fleeting, so Wisteria isn’t seen at Chelsea as often as we might hope, so it was a delight to see the Wisteria in full flower in the Welcome to Yorkshire Garden, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018.
Mark is an incredibly talented, knowledgeable, and experienced designer and contractor, he has been building gardens for the Chelsea Flower Show for 30 years, longer than anyone else I know! The Welcome to Yorkshire Garden is the 97th Chelsea Flower Show garden that Mark Gregory has built! Although he’s built so many show gardens, this is only the fifth show garden that Mark has designed, as this accomplished expert is a supportive man, who is always keen to facilitate and bring the ideas of other designers to life.
I met up with Mark and his wife Louise at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018, where this generous couple were both keener to ensure that I knew about the talent of Rhiannon Williams, a garden designer and project manager, who has worked for Landform Consultants since 2014, than they were to speak of their own success. Both Catherine McDonald and Mark Gregory have mentored Rhiannon Williams, and Mark and his wife Louise are absolutely full of praise for the natural talent of this up and coming, highly qualified designer, who planted the beautiful area around the creamery in the Welcome to Yorkshire Garden.
Tragically, in 2017, Matthew Bradley, an award-winning landscaper, who was also Rhiannon’s boyfriend and Mark’s foreman at Landform Consultants, was killed by a hit-and-run driver. The tragic loss of the life of such a young and highly skilled man, who was so well loved and respected has been a hard blow to stomach for everyone at Landform, but it is heartening to hear of the support and care that extends through the company and to see how Mark, Catherine, and even Mark’s wife Louise, are all rooting for and encouraging Rhiannon. Matthew Bradley has been at the forefront of the Landform team’s minds throughout the build. Had the accident not happened, then Matt would have been working on the Welcome to Yorkshire Garden with the team, so this is a poignant garden for them all. Rhiannon wore Matt’s day-glow jacket while she was planting the garden. For Mark and most especially for Rhiannon, their work on this garden has been in tribute of Matt. Together Mark and Rhiannon arranged with Tony Kirkham for a large specimen lime tree to be planted in memory of Matthew Bradley, in the arboretum, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Landform have also decided to sponsor a special trophy for a construction award in memory of Matt.
Mark Gregory and Matt Moore formed Landform Consultants together in 2003. Mark Gregory is the Managing Director of Landform Consultants, he’s also a Director of the Horticultural Trades Association, the Chairman of the Association of Professional Landscapers, a Co-Director of the London College of Garden Design, a consultant to Board Bia, and an RHS judge and assessor! It’s lovely to see Mark Gregory receiving recognition for his design, landscape, and construction work and to receive such positive reactions about the Welcome to Yorkshire Garden from his peers.
What happens to the Welcome to Yorkshire Garden after the Chelsea Flower Show?
The stone used in the Welcome to Yorkshire Garden has been borrowed from the Bolton Estate, the home of Harry, the 8th Lord of Bolton and his family, the stone will be returned to the Bolton Estate in Wensleydale, in Yorkshire, when Chelsea Flower Show closes. After the show, all of the roof tiles will go back to the reclamation yard they came from. The wooden finger post will be heading to Louise and Mark Gregory’s garden, as a momento of the show. Some of the plants from the Welcome to Yorkshire Garden are going to a garden that Landform Consultants are currently building, while plans are still being finalised for the remainder of the plants and materials, but everything will be used again and recycled to enhance, or create other gardens.
Mark Gregory and his team will be on their way to a garden show in Dublin, Ireland once Chelsea finishes, to get ready for the next show, Bloom, which opens from the 31st May until 4th June 2018. I wish Mark and his team at Landform a moment to allow their Chelsea success to soak in, and every success for the future!
The Welcome to Yorkshire Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018
The Welcome to Yorkshire Garden was designed by Mark Gregory. This Show Garden was built by Landform Consultants and sponsored by Welcome to Yorkshire. The RHS judges presented this show garden with a Gold Medal, and the Best Construction Award, while the public chose this show garden as the winner of the People’s Choice Award for the Best Show Garden, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018.
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To read my descriptions of the new rose introductions from David Austin Roses, which were launched at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018, please click here.