Mark Gregory Welcomes us to Yorkshire, at the 2019 Chelsea Flower Show

I adored the dreamy quintessential country cottage garden that Mark Gregory designed and built for the Yorkshire Tourist Board, at last year’s Chelsea Flower Show.  I was utterly charmed both by Mark’s design and the quality of the construction of this idyllic garden.

I wasn’t the only one to fall in love with Mark’s 2018 Chelsea garden: the RHS judges presented the Welcome to Yorkshire Garden with a Gold Medal and the Best Construction Award; while the public voted the Yorkshire Garden as the winner of the People’s Choice Award.  I loved this garden!  I’d have happily moved into the bothy and claimed this idyllic plot for my own.  Consequently, I have been eagerly anticipating my visit to Chelsea, to see the latest garden that Mark has designed and built for Welcome to Yorkshire, at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

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! The Welcome to Yorkshire Garden, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018 was designed by Mark Gregory and built by Landform Consultants.

It’s hard to think of a way that Mark could improve upon last year’s success, but Mark Gregory is a determined, passionate, and ambitious man.  Not content with the praise he received at last year’s show, where Mark felt that there was almost something wanting, as his design had fallen so perfectly into place.  Last year, everything worked precisely as Mark planned, during every single stage of the construction process.  Although Mark loved last year’s Yorkshire Garden and he enjoyed the process of designing and building the garden, he felt as if he’d in effect had it too easy.  Consequently, Mark has been keen to up the stakes for his 2019 garden, to see if he could draw a similar reaction from the public, and from his peers, with a much more complex garden design, one that stretches the possibilities of what’s achievable at Chelsea.

The beautiful stone work really enhances the naturalistic, rustic look of the Welcome to Yorkshire Garden.

Rather than taking the easy option, by bringing a piece of the Yorkshire moors or the dales to Chelsea, Mark decided instead to take on the challenge of building a section of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show!

Mark Gregory loves to find innovate ways to produce a theatrical landscape that will strike a chord with visitors.  He pays close attention to the underlying quality of the construction methods and the techniques used to create the bones of his show gardens, but Mark completes his designs by adding the finer details of the landscape to create atmosphere, to deliver an authentic space that really moves people and appeals to their senses, desires, and memories.  Mark really wants the public to love and understand this garden, he hopes they’ll feel a connection with Yorkshire and with the garden itself.

This area of perennial planting includes foxgloves, Camassia, buttercups, and plantain.

A closer look at the steps up to the lock in the Welcome to Yorkshire Garden. These steps have been dressed with leaf litter that Mark collected especially for the garden.

One of the ways that Mark has enabled the public to feel part of the Welcome to Yorkshire Garden, is by placing a whacking great, 8m tall, 5-ton Acer campestre at the garden’s boundary, to ensure that the public can shelter beneath, and even touch the tree.  Allowing visitors to make that vital contact and connection, which is often missing thanks to the distance and separation of Chelsea gardens and the public.

A woven willow owl in the boughs of the Acer camestre tree, pictured in the Welcome to Yorkshire Garden, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019.

The 2019 RHS Chelsea Flower Show has seen a number of designers using trees and plants that are not as formally grown and rigorously trained. These two branches of this Acer campestre have grown into each other. In a nursery or garden centre, branches like these would often be separated, with one branch trimmed or removed, to prevent rubbing or damaging the bark.

The Welcome to Yorkshire Garden also features a number of large pollarded willows that Mark has grown out for a more relaxed look, in keeping with the garden.  This garden has a really authentic countryside feel, thanks to these trees, and the other ferns and wildflowers that Mark has used in the garden.

Mark Gregory grew out this pollarded willow tree, for the Welcome to Yorkshire Garden, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019.

Mark creates a story with each of the gardens he designs.  With the Welcome to Yorkshire Garden, Mark’s narrative centres around the life of the Lock Keeper he’s imagined, who lives in the stone cottage, next to the lock.  Mark’s Lock Keeper looks after 7 locks.  He’s a keen gardener, growing cottage garden style plants around his home, and tending a vegetable garden, that he’s very proud of.  The other side of the garden is the side that the public access and walks through.  A hoggin towpath marks a track that dog walkers and families out for a weekend walk would take, as they explore these wildlife corridors, in West Yorkshire.

Mark and Louise Gregory pictured at the end of the build of the Welcome to Yorkshire Garden.

It’s almost unbelievable to think that this picture of a Lock Keepers cottage and canal was taken at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show!

The Lock Keeper has planted an experimental perennial meadow on this public side of the garden, growing wild lupins and Camassia, in amongst Anthriscus sylvestris (cow parsley), buttercups, ragged robin, grasses, and wild flowers.  Mark has used his personal observations of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal to help to inform and complete his Welcome to Yorkshire Garden.  Osmunda regalis grows wild along the Huddersfield Narrow Canal, so Mark has included this fern, in the garden.

Pretty yellow Verbascums mingle with Camassia, Anthriscus sylvestris (cow parsley), and lupins, in the Welcome to Yorkshire Garden, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019.

Ragged robin combines with Camassia, cow parsley and other perennial plants in the Welcome to Yorkshire Garden, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019.

Mark Gregory has an impressive record – this is Mark’s 31st year at Chelsea.  This year Mark has built two gardens: the Yorkshire Garden and the Dubai Majlis Garden.  These are the 98th and 99th gardens that Mark has built at Chelsea.

The garden of the Lock Keeper’s Cottage was lovingly planted with vegetables and country flowers.

The Huddersfield Narrow Canal inspired the design of the Welcome to Yorkshire Garden. This garden has been designed as a Lock Keeper’s cottage, complete the lock, lock gates, vegetable garden, and perennial wildflower meadow.

Last year, Mark famously brought cow pats, as a detail to complete his Yorkshire country cottage garden.  This year, Mark obtained permission from the Royal Horticultural Society to use the maximum area for the Welcome to Yorkshire Garden by stretching this garden into the 2m (6.5ft) strip of grass that surrounds each of the gardens.

Wild lupins were a key plant in the Welcome to Yorkshire Garden, these pretty flowers are very popular with bees.

Mark lives in Surrey, but grew up in Yorkshire and is a proud Yorkshire man.  Mark wanted to do something extraordinary for Yorkshire at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show; he wanted to impress the public and Mark has succeeded, he’s done it!  Mark is prepared and driven.  He has absolutely given this garden all his heart and soul, using every trick and every technique he has learnt over the past 31 years that Mark’s been building gardens at Chelsea, to create a garden that’s technically demanding, atmospheric, and dramatic.

Mark and Louise Gregory are pictured in the Welcome to Yorkshire Garden, which Mark designed and built for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019.

Carol Kirkwood, pictured presenting the weather for the BBC Breakfast Show, from the Welcome to Yorkshire Garden, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019.

Mark Gregory designed and built the Welcome to Yorkshire Garden, for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019.

A closer look at the lock gates in the Welcome to Yorkshire Garden, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019.

This cleverly placed mirror makes it looks as if the lock extends out much further.

Mark has a great team at Landform Consultants. This is Rhiannon Williams; Rhiannon has worked for Mark for a number of years, she has many talents and interests, including floristry, landscape design, and floristry.

Rhiannon Williams is one of the team from Landform Consultants. Rhiannon has worked with Mark Gregory, helping with the planting of this garden.

The simple bench seat in the Welcome to Yorkshire Garden.

Camassia is very lovely and easy to grow flower. Plant bulbs in early autumn. Camassia thrive in clay and heavier soils.

The Welcome to Yorkshire Garden is planted in a naturalistic style to make this complex show garden look as if it has been a historic feature on Main Avenue, at Chelsea, rather than a newly created and planted water feature.

A closer look at ferns and wildflowers planted at the top of the stone wall in the Welcome to Yorkshire Garden.

The Welcome to Yorkshire Garden was planted with many wild and cultivated plants to give a naturalistic look.

An area of perennial meadow in the Welcome to Yorkshire Garden, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019.

Mark Gregory pictured showing visitors around the Welcome to Yorkshire Garden, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019.

Camassia flowers are popular with bees.

If you’d like to vote for your favourite Show Garden in the People’s Choice Awards, please click here to visit the BBC website and cast your vote.

To see the quintessential country cottage garden that Mark Gregory designed and built for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018, please click here.

The Welcome to Yorkshire Garden was designed by Mark Gregory, built by Landform Consultants, and sponsored by Welcome to Yorkshire.

Other articles that may interest you…………..

To see an overview of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019, please click here.

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

To see the top twenty shortlisted plants, including the finalists and the winner of the RHS Chelsea Plant of the Year 2019, please click here.

Other articles you might like:

One thought on “Mark Gregory Welcomes us to Yorkshire, at the 2019 Chelsea Flower Show

  1. Jan

    May 21, 2019 at 8:17am

    Thank you so much for this detailed look at this fabulous garden, it is a dream of a wonderful place.

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    • Author

      Pumpkin Beth

      May 21, 2019 at 6:18pm

      I am so glad you enjoyed the article, Jan. Thank you so much for your message. I will be writing and publishing more Chelsea articles….

      Permalink  ⋅ Reply
  2. Andrew.Avenell

    May 31, 2020 at 7:13pm

    Your Canal lock was my favourite at Chelsea in 2019. A very natural setting and a very high level of detail
    being a lover of water gardens in the UK this display of yours ticked my box to cut a long story short.

    Yours sincerely.

    Andrew

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