RHS Appoints Two New Designers To Take Forward RHS Vision

Saturday 28 November 2015

• Tom Stuart-Smith to be the master planner and designer for the new 156-acre RHS Garden Bridgewater • Christopher Bradley-Hole will take forward the existing master plan for RHS Garden Wisley

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) is announcing today its plans to work with two of the world’s best landscape architects, Tom Stuart-Smith and Christopher Bradley-Hole, to take forward its exciting horticultural plans for the new RHS Garden Bridgewater in Salford and its flagship RHS Garden Wisley in Surrey.

Following the announcement of the Society’s fifth garden, RHS Garden Bridgewater, last month, the RHS has moved swiftly to appoint a world-class landscape architect to deliver the master plan for the project. Tom Stuart-Smith has been appointed to create the overall master plan for the 156-acre garden, which will bring back to life the lost historic grounds at Worsley New Hall, Salford.

At the same time, internationally renowned landscape architect Christopher Bradley-Hole has been appointed to develop the existing master plan for RHS Garden Wisley, taking key aspects of the plan to the next conceptual stage, and to design the new front-of-house gardens including those around the much-loved Arts and Crafts-style Laboratory.

RHS Director General, Sue Biggs, says: “I am delighted that these two hugely influential and innovative landscape architects will take forward such significant elements of our RHS Vision. With Tom and Christopher on board I am confident that these two gardens will be among the best and most popular in the UK.”

RHS Garden Bridgewater is planned to open in 2019 as part of the RHS wider 10-year £160 million investment programme to achieve its Vision to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place. Tom Stuart-Smith’s master plan will set out the overall vision for the garden, assessing its current condition and outlining the conceptual approach for its future.

The garden will be a result of collaboration between the owners of the historic estate, Peel Land and Property, Salford City Council and the RHS. Horticultural highlights will include the restoration of the 10-acre walled kitchen garden, one of the largest in the UK; developing historic features such as the tree-lined avenue and reinterpreting the famous Nesfield Terraces, which sit between the lake and the site of the lost Worsley New Hall.

Tom Stuart-Smith says: “I have known the amazing site that is to become RHS Garden Bridgewater for some time and it is really remarkable. It is a great honour and a huge challenge to be able to contribute to this very exciting project. There is amazing potential here to make something innovative, relevant and distinctly different.”

The latest site master plan for RHS Garden Wisley was completed by architects Feilden Clegg Bradley at the start of this year, with conceptual design work by Dan Pearson Studios. Christopher Bradley-Hole has been appointed to design the new visitor hub and welcome area, to provide an inspiring arrival experience for a world-class visitor destination. He will also further develop the horticultural master plan, including for the garden’s Hilltop area, which will house a new horticultural science and educational centre.

Christopher Bradley-Hole says: “The new entrance and centre for science represent a new beginning for RHS Garden Wisley, and an opportunity to bring it into sharper focus. For more than a century Wisley has epitomised gardening possibilities and drawn gardeners through its unique breadth of display. Now is the chance to renew its context. Step by step through spatial clarity and crafting of detail we can slowly unfold a rich, enjoyable and engaging visitor experience.”

Visits to the garden have grown over the last 10 years from 734,000 to more than one million a year. The Hilltop area at RHS Garden Wisley will form the UK’s first dedicated scientific centre of excellence in horticultural taxonomy, plant health and horticultural science. The improved visitor entrance will include exhibition space, an expanded plant centre, gift and book shop, and dedicated space for specialist UK nurseries to promote their plant diversity and expertise. The much-loved Arts and Crafts-Style Laboratory building will also be restored and revealed in a setting suitable for its heritage status.


Notes to editors

For more information, please contact the RHS Press Office on 020 7821 3043, email pressoffice@rhs.org.uk or call Hannah Dolby on 0207 821 3042.

Images of RHS Garden Bridgewater are available on PhotoShelter. Registration is a simple process and free of charge. Please contact pressoffice@rhs.org.uk to gain access.

Tom Stuart-Smith has designed eight Gold medal-winning gardens at the Chelsea Flower Show, with three being awarded Best in Show. He has also designed a number of large private gardens, including Broughton Grange and Woodperry in Oxfordshire and a new garden at Windsor Castle to mark the Queen's Golden Jubilee. He was also responsible for the landscape master plan at Trentham and the recasting of its Italian garden. He previously worked with the RHS to design the garden around The Glasshouse at RHS Garden Wisley, which opened in 2007.

Christopher Bradley-Hole created six Gold medal-winning Chelsea Flower Show gardens, two of which were awarded best in show. As well as designing large private gardens he was recently responsible for several civic-space projects including a new public landscape for the BBC at White City and a new square and courtyards for Highbury Stadium, the former Arsenal football ground converted to a residential scheme. He is the author of Making the Modern Garden and The Minimalist Garden.

About the RHS
The Royal Horticultural Society was founded in 1804 by Sir Joseph Banks and John Wedgwood to inspire passion and excellence in the science, art and practice of horticulture. Our vision is to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place. We believe everyone in every village, town and city should benefit from growing plants to enhance lives, build stronger, healthier, happier communities and create better places to live.

We held our first flower shows in 1820, were granted a Royal Charter in 1861 and acquired RHS Garden Wisley, our flagship garden, in 1903. From our first meetings in a small room off London’s Piccadilly, we have grown to become the world’s largest gardening charity. At our gardens and shows, through our scientific research, website, publications, libraries, education and community programmes we inspire a passion for gardening and growing plants. We’re committed to promoting the value of gardens, demonstrating how gardening is good for us and explaining the vital roles that plants play in a sustainable world.

The RHS is committed to bring the joy of gardening to millions more people, inspire the next generation of gardeners and invest in the future to safeguard a £10.4 billion industry employing more than 300,000 people. We are entirely funded by our members, visitors and supporters.

RHS membership is for anyone with an interest in gardening. Support the RHS and help us secure a healthy future for gardening. For more information call: 020 3176 5820, or visit www.rhs.org.uk/join  

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About the RHS

The RHS believes that gardening improves the quality of life and that everyone should have access to great garden experiences. As a charity we help to bring gardening into people's lives and support gardeners of all levels and abilities; whether they are expert horticulturists or children who are planting seeds for the very first time.

RHS membership is for anyone with an interest in gardening. Support the RHS and secure a healthy future for gardening. For more information call: 0845 130 4646, or visit www.rhs.org.uk

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