Dr Catherine MacDonald and the Seedlip Garden, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018

Left to right: Seedlip’s Head of Horticulture Tom Harfleet, Rod Lamborn (the son of Dr Calvin Lamborn), Garden Designer Dr Catherine MacDonald, and Seedlip founder Ben Branson. The Seedlip Garden was designed by Dr Catherine MacDonald and built by Landform Consultants.  This Space to Grow Garden was sponsored by Seedlip.

Garden designer Dr Catherine MacDonald devised the Seedlip Garden as a celebration of the pea – Pisum sativum.  The Seedlip Garden features peas and plants related to peas – plants from the pea plant family – Fabaceae.  This Space to Grow Garden also honours the work of three men and their work in relation to peas.  The first man that the Seedlip Garden commemorates is Gregor Mendel (1822-1824).  Gregor is known as the ‘father of modern genetics’, as his detailed and extensive work studying and breeding peas, uncovered previously unknown facts about the laws of inheritance and dominant and recessive genes.  Sadly, the importance and significance of Mendel’s work was for the most part unrecognised at the time of his studies and when his paper was published.  Mendel’s work is now recognised, the information that Mendel discovered and proved about genes and inherited traits are now known as ‘Mendel’s Laws of Inheritance’.

Dr Catherine MacDonald is herself a geneticist, as well as a garden designer and project manager, so she had a vast amount of knowledge and understanding in all areas of the Seedlip Garden’s concept to draw upon when designing the Seedlip Garden.

The Seedlip Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show celebrates the pea. This entire garden is dedicated to peas, and the pea plant family – Fabaceae.

The second man that the Seedlip Garden commemorates is Dr Calvin Lamborn (1933-2017).  Dr Calvin Lamborn was a plant breeder who specialised in traditional, non GMO breeding techniques.  In 1969 Calvin began his intensive breeding work to develop the original sugar snap pea.  Ten years later, in Idaho, in 1979, the sugar snap pea (Pisum sativum var. saccharatum) that we know, eat, and enjoy today was created.  I enjoyed meeting Dr Calvin Lamborn’s son Rod Lamborn at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.  Rod worked closely with his father breeding and developing new peas, Rod is naturally proud to continue his father’s work.  Rod Lamborn is currently breeding lime green coloured, sugar snap peas and other new types of pea.

The uplifting, painterly colours of Lupins, peas, beans, clovers, and other flowering Legumes – plants from the pea family, combine in the Seedlip Garden, which was designed by Dr Catherine MacDonald, for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018.

Caesalpinia gilliesii – the crimson threadflower and Lupinus ‘Desert Sun’, pictured growing in the Seedlip Garden, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018.

A closer look at the striking flowers of Caesalpinia gilliesii – the crimson threadflower, pictured on the Seedlip Garden, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018.

The third man that the Seedlip Garden celebrates is Seedlip founder Ben Branson.  Seedlip is a distilled, non-alcoholic drink.  Ben created Seedlip after discovering an old book, the Art of Distillation, which was first published in 1651.  The book inspired Ben and he began distilling his home-grown edibles to formulate new recipes and create his own brand of non-alcoholic spirits.

Ben Branson’s family are farmers, they hail from North Lincolnshire, where they have been growing peas, and other crops for over 300 years.  The pea is the main ingredient of Seedlip’s Garden 108 distilled, non-alcoholic spirit, all of the peas that go into producing the Seedlip Garden 108 non- alcoholic spirit are grown on the Branson family farm, so it is very apt that the Seedlip Garden celebrates the pea.

Instead of gravel, garden designer Catherine MacDonald has used dried peas as pea shingle, pictured in the Seedlip Garden, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018.

Yellow flowered Lupins, pictured in the Seedlip Garden. The RHS judges awarded this Space to Grow Garden with a Gold Medal, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018.

Lupinus ‘Masterpiece’, Lupinus ‘Desert Sun’, Trifolium willdenovii, mingle with a wide range of plants from the pea family in the Seedlip Garden, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018.

Lupins were again a popular plant at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show, they could be seen in many of the show gardens.  Lupins are also from the pea plant family – Fabaceae.   The Seedlip Garden was planted with Lupinus ‘Masterpiece’, the tall, purple Lupin you see pictured above, and Lupinus ‘Desert Sun’, the tall yellow Lupin in the background of the photograph.

The Seedlip Garden features a ‘Peavilion’, a pea shrine, which is filled with all manner of publications and books about peas.  The Peavilion roof has been utilised as a green roof, covered with a healthy crop of edible pea shoots.

The flowers in the Seedlip Garden were especially popular with bees, this sunshine yellow flower is Lupinus ‘Desert Sun’. Pictured in the Seedlip Garden, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018.

The plants featured in the Seedlip Garden were popular with bees and other insects, I enjoyed watching a number of different bee species buzzing around the garden!  If you’re looking to encourage bees and other pollinating insects to your garden, you may want to consider growing some peas, Lupins, or other plants from the pea family.

Ceratonia siliqua, the carob tree, pictured in the Seedlip Garden, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018.

Anthyllis vulneraria, pictured in the Seedlip Garden, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018.

All of the plants that featured in the Seedlip Garden are from the pea plant family – Fabaceae, the trees are also from this family, they too are related to the pea.

This year, Tom Harfleet joined the Seedlip team as Seedlip’s Head of Horticulture.  Prior to this move, Tom was the Royal Horticultural Society’s Head of Shows Development, and prior to that Tom was the RHS Chelsea Flower Show Manager.  Tom is now working to develop new growing techniques and selecting new plants for Seedlip.

The Seedlip Garden is packed full of Legumes, plants from the Pea Family – Fabaceae. The Seedlip Garden comes complete with some amusing touches, the building is called the Peavilion, it’s filled with articles about Legumes and is a shrine to celebrate the pea.

This interesting pea has been bred more recently, this pea is yet to receive an official name. Pictured in the Seedlip Garden, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018.

The pea that you see pictured above is a newly developed pea, which was bred by Dr Calvin Lamborn to be a new type of pea green, I am told that this new type of pea shoot, with its fine leaves is full of flavour and ideal for salads and garnishes.  This new pea is yet to be named or available for sale.

The purple flowers of Lupinus ‘Materpiece’ and Trifolium willdenovii, pictured in the Seedlip Garden, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018.

A closer look at Ceratonia siliqua, the carob tree, pictured in the Seedlip Garden, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018.

Peas are one of my favourite plants to grow and eat, I love peas!  I enjoyed visiting the Seedlip Garden, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018.

The Seedlip Garden celebrates the pea! Garden designer Dr Catherine MacDonald has created the garden to highlight the work that Dr Calvin Lamborn, Gregor Mendel, and Ben Branson have undertaken to breed, grow, study, distill, and use pea plants.

The Seedlip Garden was designed by Dr Catherine MacDonald and built by Landform Consultants, for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018.

The RHS judges presented the Seedlip Garden with a Gold Medal, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018.

The Seedlip Garden was designed by Dr Catherine MacDonald and built by Landform Consultants.  This Space to Grow Garden was sponsored by Seedlip.  The plants that featured in this garden came from Hortus Loci and Calvin’s Peas.

The RHS judges awarded the Seedlip Garden with a Gold Medal, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018.

Other articles that may interest you………..

To read an overview of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018, please click here.

To take a tour of the Silent Pool Gin Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018, please click here.

To take a tour of the Welcome to Yorkshire Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018, please click here.

To take a tour of the Morgan Stanley Garden for the NSPCC at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018, please click here.

Other articles you might like:

One thought on “Dr Catherine MacDonald and the Seedlip Garden, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018

  1. irene Eltringham-Willson

    June 3, 2018 at 10:36am

    A lovely blog about one of my Fav Chelsea gardens

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply
    • Author

      Pumpkin Beth

      June 3, 2018 at 11:43am

      Thank you Irene! I hope you’re having a super weekend. Best wishes, Beth

      Permalink  ⋅ Reply

Your email will not be published. Name and Email fields are required