ANDY STURGEON wins 6th GOLD MEDAL for M&G Garden at Chelsea 2012


Award-winning landscape and garden designer Andy Sturgeon won his 6th Gold Medal the 2012 RHS Chelsea Flower Show with an Arts and Crafts inspired garden for M&G Investments, the official sponsor of The RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

The M&G Garden celebrates the fundamental design principles of the Arts and Crafts movement with traditional craftsmanship, natural materials and country garden planting.

With references to the gardens at Hidcote Manor and Sissinghurst, Andy describes the design for The M&G Garden as a ‘New English’ style. The layout has a strong asymmetric quality; a series of formal, linear paths and terraces combines with a mirrored water channel to create a succession of garden rooms delineated by stone walls and a 5-metre ‘floating’ oak bench, that are framed within a bold yew hedge.

The space is defined by the three bold monolithic walls. Clad in rough-hewn natural stone tiles, they run the length of the garden tapering to form apertures to frame the details of the planting beyond. Andy has designed a circular repeating pattern hand-drilled into the wall to reference the large-scale woodblock wallpapers of Arts and Crafts figureheads William Morris and John Ruskin. At night, the walls are illuminated to form punctured light boxes that bring the garden to life.

The dramatic focal point of the garden is the ‘energy wave’ sculpture. Crafted in hammer-finished copper rings, the sculpture weaves through the garden in a free and unconstrained way. Spilling across borders and pathways and emerging in the rectangular pool, it enlivens the garden without challenging its formality or architectural framework. Although it has a distinctively modern quality, the sculpture is a subtle nod to the Arts and Crafts jewellery and ornaments designed over a century ago.
The ‘New English’ style of planting that Andy has created for The M&G Garden has a harmonious cottage-style quality to it. Although it utilises some of the familiar components of a traditional English garden with voluptuous borders set against formally clipped hedging it is interpreted in a fresher way. The style has formality without symmetry and gently softens the formal architectural edges of the garden.

A soft pastel planting palette contrasts with the aged copper sculpture and the rich patina of the treated concrete walls.

Key plants
Aquilegia 'Chocolate Soldier' (Granny’s Bonnet)
Iris Chrysographes Black Form (Black Iris)
Patrinia Villosa
Peucedanum Veticillare (Hog’s Fennel/Milk Parsley)

Andy Sturgeon said: “I decided to create an Arts and Crafts design for The M&G Garden as the company’s values are about tradition and flair, which fits well with the Arts and Crafts theme. I realised recently that my own garden designs, although frequently modern, are totally reliant on the principles and ethos of this popular movement.”


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