RHS Grow Your Own garden

It’s been another busy year for Sandstone, for the company as a whole and particularly for owner and designer Ali Dempster.

We have constructed feature gardens for the Royal Horticultural Society for the last few years including last year’s RHS Kitchen Garden at Hampton Court Palace Flower Show designed by Juliet Sargeant. And we’ve clearly earned a great reputation in doing so, as this year Ali was approached by the RHS to not only build a feature garden for the Hampton Court show but to design it as well. He agreed, of course, and plans were set into motion to create an inspirational and accessible kitchen garden which would encourage people of all ages, abilities, budgets and garden sizes to start growing their own food. The planting design was led by plantswoman Rossana Porta, whom Ali has worked with before.

The RHS Grow Your Own with The Raymond Blanc Gardening School had a genuine emphasis on sustainability and there were many examples of upcycling and recycling on display. Old air conditioning ducting had been turned into sculptural-like containers, used car tyres were stacked to make planters and breezeblocks were arranged into a fantastic Tetris-style raised planting area. The garden also featured composting containers made from old pallets, a rainwater recycling system, a wine barrel pond and two beehives, one of which was created in the style of a traditional Provence house – a nod to Raymond Blanc’s Belmond Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons’ upcoming Bee Village.

L: Raymond Blanc, Rossana Porta & Ali Dempster R: Traditional Provence style beehive

Raymond held an engaging demonstration from the garden building on press day during which he rustled up a dressed tomato salad, gave spectators a taste of his delicious tomato essence and talked about the importance of using local, seasonal ingredients.

L: Raymond Blanc discussing flavour with schoolchildren

L: Comedian Bill Bailey

The garden received many visitors, including actors Alistair Petrie & Lucy Scott, comedian Bill Bailey and Call the Midwife actress Judy Parfitt.

Sandstone also built the BBC Countryfile 30th Anniversary garden designed by Ann-Marie Powell; a tiered landscape representing different areas of the British Isles.

Neither of the gardens were judged as they were RHS sponsored feature gardens, but they both received the highest praise.

BBC Countryfile 30th Anniversary garden

In amongst the months of planning for Hampton Court and the company’s private client projects, Sandstone were also busy preparing and executing plans for RHS Chelsea Flower Show, which took place in May. As we mentioned in our last post, we won an award for each of the three trade stands designed and built: five stars for the Chilstone stand for the second year running, four stars for new client Chesneys and three stars for Elizabeth Bradley.

We have private landscaping projects in Sussex & Kent keeping us busy over the next few months and the team are all very happy to be working a bit closer to home during the summer holidays!

If your garden is not meeting your expectations and you have no idea what to do about it, get in touch on 01892 668404 or info@sandstonedesign.co.uk.

[All photos by Emily Brown Photography]