It’s so important to appreciate, look after and cherish every square inch of earth, every inch of our planet. For those living in town centres or cities, or areas where outdoor space is at a premium, it can sometimes be hard to find inspiration of how to green up and make the most of the limited areas of ground, roof, or wall space that are available. Thankfully, there are garden designers who specialise in creating urban gardens; these designers have both the talent and innovative ideas that will transform the most awkward, lifeless, and uninviting of areas into tranquil, secluded, pocket sized oases.
The RHS campaign to Green Grey Britain, which was launched a few years ago, has helped to encourage communities to improve and make the most of their surroundings, while shows like the RHS Chelsea Flower Show have provided designers with a platform to publicise their ideas for inner city gardens. Over the past couple of years, the Royal Horticultural Society’s shows at Chelsea and Hampton Court have provided ideas for urban or community gardens, as well as a plentiful amount of inspiration for those with larger sized gardens.
At the 2017 RHS Chelsea Flower Show, I so enjoyed visiting the City Living Garden, which was designed by Kate Gould, and built by Keith Chapman and the team from Kate Gould Gardens, so at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show, I was really looking forward to visiting Kate Gould’s garden, the New West End Garden. I can tell you that I wasn’t disappointed, the finish on this Space to Grow Garden was just absolutely spectacular! Both Kate Gould as a designer, and Keith Chapman, who leads the team that build Kate Gould’s gardens, have a great eye for detail and a passionate desire to make sure that every inch of the gardens they create counts and adds something to the overall impression, the function, or the appearance of the garden. They’re a great team!
Kate Gould designed the New West End Garden to be her interpretation of a modern London square, a communal garden which utilises every inch of its outdoor area. The walls are Ashlar clad to tie in with the architecture seen in many of the famous London squares. The overall feel of the garden is one of calm and serenity. The garden invites visitors to go outside and take a seat to soak up the atmosphere. The New West End Garden is both inviting, yet very private. It’s a modern, secret garden.
The New West End Garden is full of ideas and inspiration! This urban, communal garden features the latest technology to harvest solar power and kinetic energy to power the features of the garden. Kate has incorporated maps of London, which have been laser cut to create a very detailed diagram of the local area to decorate the walls of the garden. These maps are solar powered – during the day they harvest power from the sun to enable the maps to light up at night, adding a welcoming light, with a functional, useful feature for the residents of the New West End Garden.
My favourite of the energy harvesting ideas that featured in the New West End Garden was the Pavegen pathways that Kate Gould incorporated to power the main light and fan in the garden. These pathways have been specially designed to harvest kinetic energy from the footsteps of passers-by, as they walk across the paths, to generate 5 watts of continuous power.
Kate Gould has selected plants that will enhance and benefit the New West End Garden. These plants tolerate pollution and remove toxins from the air, to improve both the air quality and the atmosphere in the New West End Garden.
I always enjoy catching up with Kate Gould, Keith Chapman, Colin Evans, and the team from Kate Gould Gardens, they are a great bunch of people, I love their enthusiasm, ideas, and the quality of the urban gardens they create! The gardens that Kate and her team create are show gardens, but they are also proper gardens, if you left the garden in place at Chelsea it would survive, the plants are properly accounted for and planted. Kate Gould’s green, living walls feature large, deep pockets to provide sufficient space for the root growth of every fern that forms part of the living wall.
Now that the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018 has finished, the New West End Garden, complete with the Pavegen paving and sustainable, energy harvesting features is being moved to Old Quebec Street, in Westminster, London.
The New West End Garden was designed by Kate Gould and built by Kate Gould Gardens. The New West End Garden was sponsored by the New West End Company and the Sir Simon Milton Foundation. The RHS judges awarded this Space to Grow Garden a Gold Medal, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018.
Later this year, Kate Gould, Keith Chapman, and Colin Evans will be travelling to Singapore to build a show garden for the Singapore Garden Festival, which runs from the 21st July 2018 until the 3rd August 2018. I wish them good luck and every success for the future!
To read my 2017 interview with Keith Chapman and Kate Gould and see the City Living Garden that Kate Gould designed for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017, please click here.
Other articles that may interest you…………
To read my interview with Mark Gregory and take a tour of the Welcome to Yorkshire Garden, please click here.
To read an overview of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018, please click here.
To read my interview with David Neale and take a tour of the Silent Pool Gin Garden, please click here.