Tuesday 5 March 2019

Award-winning landscape and garden designer Helen Elks-Smith returns to RHS Chelsea 2019 with her first Main Avenue Show Garden for Warner Edwards Gin.


The Warner Edwards Gin Garden, which will be Helen’s second garden at RHS Chelsea and her first on Main Avenue, is inspired by the natural springs at Falls Farm in Northamptonshire – the home of Warner Edwards Gin and Distillery – and has been designed using a sequence of structures and techniques to create multiple water features, which run quietly through different areas of the garden creating gentle arcs and streams before they emerge again in the garden.

The garden will feature a series of complex drystone walls that form a central pavilion, with two large cantilevered roofs and a central ‘chimney’ where water will flow down through a string of copper ‘fins’, mimicking the internal engineering of “Curiosity” the Warner Edwards’ copper pot still, before disappearing into the ground.

The striking central pavilion, with its floating cantilevered roofs and protruding water rills, will have a distinct linear quality, inspired by the landscape and offering a nod to Frank Lloyd-Wright’s iconic ‘Fallingwater’ where the organic architecture provides a harmonious union between design and nature.

Ahead of the pavilion and surrounded by ornamental planting, a sheltered seating area will anchor and balance the design and create a contemplative space or ‘hortus conclusus’ from which to admire the landscape.


The planting will be seen in four distinct, but complementary, zones that blend seamlessly throughout the plot and, in line with the Warner Edwards ethos of “giving back to nature”, will provide good habitats and food sources for birds, insects, bees and butterflies. In the foreground, a relaxed Mediterranean-style border, punctuated with shaggy Yew ‘pillows’, will merge with a textured wildflower turf, while a swath of native hedgerow planting, underplanted with ferns and grasses, will wrap around the pavilion. To complete the garden, the cantilevered roofs will be crowned with Sedums, Euphorbias and Thyme to create a vibrant living roof.

Native British species have been chosen for the feature trees and shrubs including Junipers (Juniperus Communis), Field Maple (Acer Campestre) Hawthorn (Crataegus Mongyna) Hazel (Corylus Avellana) and Yew (Taxus Bacatta). The Mediterranean-style border will feature Lavender, Rosemary, Santolina, Iris and Alliums and additional wild flower species, such as Cowslips, Achillea and Harebells, will be embedded within the wildflower turf to create the effect of a grazed meadow grassland.

Overall the planting will reference the pastoral setting of Falls Farm, the heart of Warner Edwards Gin Distillery in rural Northamptonshire.

A simple palette of materials including limestone, copper and glass will run throughout the garden creating a harmonious balance and reflecting the heritage of local landscape of the village of Harrington, said to be built on “rock and water”, as well as the distilling materials of the Warner Edwards Gin distillery. Expect textured drystone walls to be reflected in the weathered blue-brown paving and rock boulders and the timber furniture to be mirrored in the vertical wooden frieze under the pavilion’s roof.

Helen will be working with a team of specialists to create the garden including water expert Andrew Ewing and artist Wendy Newhofer who will create an elaborate blue glass panel for the pavilion. Other prominent features will include a stone water trough lined with copper, and wooden furniture designed by Helen.

Helen Elks-Smith said: “I wanted to create a modern interpretation of Falls Farm and the Warner Edwards Gin distillery. The terracing, ditches and the remains of a once grand Manor House on this working farm were a real inspiration to me. I loved their dramatic linear quality and the way they interrupted the beautiful natural landscape. I also wanted to bring to life the essential natural springs on the site as they emerge and disappear on the plot. I hope I have captured this distinctive Northamptonshire landscape and the local vernacular in a calm and tranquil setting for RHS Chelsea.”

Warner Edwards Founder, Tom Warner said: “In Helen, we have found someone who has the experience and vision to bring our brand to life in garden form. We knew immediately she would be perfect and had to get her on board. Last year, the Warner Edwards team were lucky enough to win a silver medal, and so our hopes are high for another medal this year.”



Notes to editors

Suzanne Hind or Theresa Osen at Hind + Osen
Suzanne Hind: suzanne@hindandosen.com or 07813 208168
Theresa Osen: theresa@hindandosen.com or 07931 335 930

For information about Warner Edwards, contact: WarnerEdwards@MCSaatchi.com  

About Helen Elks-Smith
Multi-award winning designer Helen Elks-Smith is one of the UK’s leading garden designers. She has won two gold and one silver medal from the RHS, two design awards from the SGD (Society of Garden Designers) and two Design Excellence Awards from BALI (British Association of Landscape Industries).

After training in Garden Design at Writtle College, Helen set up her studio in Hampshire in the New Forest in 2015. A lifelong interest and love for landscape informs her work and Helen believes strongly that landscapes and gardens for both period and contemporary properties should have a sense of place, and that a beautiful, well-designed garden can have a hugely positive impact on our well-being. Her projects range from small courtyards to formal gardens and large country gardens.

Helen is a popular speaker lecturing to both trade and the gardening public. Topics include planting design, garden design, front gardens, and how gardens make you feel. Recently Helen has led a series of lectures aimed at a professional audience exploring the issues surrounding 'maintenance' and the importance of aftercare.

Her work regularly features in magazines and has also featured in a number of books including Great Garden Design by Ian Hodgson, The New Wild Garden also by Ian Hodgson and How to Make a Wildflower Meadow by James Hewetson-Brown. She is a Registered Member of the Society of Garden Designers. www.elks-smith.co.uk

About Warner Edwards
After years of planning and months of experimentation, the team at Falls Farm created the first, award-winning London Dry Gin. Since 2012, the brand has pushed further, forging new gins and whole new categories of gin - creating world firsts, like the sweet, tangy Rhubarb gin.

The Warner Edwards range includes Harrington Dry Gin; Harrington Sloe Gin; the original rhubarb gin, Victoria’s Rhubarb Gin; Harrington Elderflower Gin; ‘Melissa’ Lemon Balm Gin and Honeybee Gin.

Warner Edwards has received a number of accolades for its well-rounded and balanced delivery of elegant flavours, including: Outstanding Contribution to the Craft Distilling Industry, ranked 6th in the 2018 Fast Track 100, San Francisco World Spirits Awards: 2x Double Gold, Gold and Silver, IWSC– Gold and Silver, Global Distillery Master in Consumer Experience & Digital and Social Media, and Berlin International Spirits Competition’s English Distillery of the Year 2018, as well as Gold, Silver and Bronze medals for their gins.

Follow the Warner Edwards story at:
Online: www.warneredwards.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/warner_edwards  
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/warneredwards/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WarnerEdwardsDistillery