A £165m investment programme will see two leading UK gardens transformed by the Royal Horticultural Society.
The designers of a new RHS garden at Bridgewater near Salford and the Victorian Wisley Garden in Surrey have revealed ambitious new plans for restorations and revamps.
Bridgewater, designed by landscape architect Tom Stuart-Smith, will feature an entrance garden laid out like a web and planted as a perennial meadow, a new lake which anchors the new visitor building/shop/cafe within the landscape, a water garden of interlocking streams and rocky waterfalls, the reconstruction of the historic walled garden to include a therapeutic garden, vegetable garden and flower garden and a new learning centre.
But he warned removing large areas of trees and Rhododendron ponticum would be a “delicate PR matter” because the garden would change from a “mysterious and beautiful situation to become a working garden” and this would be mean “going backwards before going forward”.
Meanwhile, the new entrance at the Royal Horticultural Society’s Wisley garden in Surrey is to be transformed from “an arrival space where people meet, that they may as well be standing outside a service station on the A3” to a 175m avenue of flowering cherries with a “dune landscape” of clipped beech mounds and a swale with bridges.
Designer Christopher Bradley-Hole said the current entrance “gives you nothing” but a £50m plan to build a new entrance/shop and science/education building will transform the garden.
Bradley-Hole said the flowering “coups de theatre” cherry walk would be like Kyoto in Japan. He likened the avenue to the streets of Chelsea in London. There will also be a ‘village square’ next to the new welcome building/shop designed by architects Carmody Groake, which he likened to St Emilion in France and a terrace in front of the historic laboratory building would have a college atmosphere.
At the Hilltop end of Wisley, Wilkinson Eyre are designing a new science and learning centre with a restaurant. Bradley-Hole is designing three gardens around it, based on health and well-being, world kitchen and a nature reserve.
For more information on visiting RHS Wisley click here.