This glorious Gold-winning garden at Chelsea was designed by Harry and David Rich and built by Rich Landscapes, and Big Fish Landscapesfor Cloudy Bay – in association with Bord na Mona – to reflect the tasting notes and characteristics of two of Cloudy Bay’s popular wines.
I was lucky enough to be able to visit the site on the Thursday (three days) before Chelsea opened, to see how the garden was developing and to meet with Harry and David, the youngest designers at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, to talk through their beautiful – and ultimately Gold-winning (their first Chelsea Gold) design.
It is a garden in which to enjoy wine, taking you from the fresh and clean tones of a Pinot Noir with planting in red, purples and plums to the floral, dark and earthy tones of a Sauvignon Blanc with light white and green planting.
The key points I took away from our conversation was that the Rich brothers think about spaces, not gardens. They are passionate about outside spaces that challenge the perception of garden design: as they told me: “A garden doesn’t have to be a garden. It’s a space that can suit your lifestyle. We create spaces not gardens.”
David and Harry worked with a local Welsh blacksmith to deliver a contemporary moveable shack on rails in the centre of the garden to reflect the vineyard’s heritage: it mimics the architectural qualities of the (affectionately named) “Shack” winery residence at the Cloudy Bay vineyard in Marlborough, New Zealand.
Using British plants is very important to them, and here British Native Field maple and Hawthorn trees deepen the natural feeling, crafting a layered canopy over the garden.
This was the large water feature before being filled, which would mirror the dimensions of the shack and portrays the clean, crisp character of the white Sauvignon Blanc.
The boundary conceals pull-out seats and a table that folds down to reveal an art piece.
It’s always fascinating to see the planting take shape. Even in the rain…
And here is the finished garden – with the boys finally out of their planting gear.
All images pre-opening by Sasha Wilkins, all other images of the finished garden courtesy of Cloudy Bay