Viking, the small ship travel company, today announces its sponsorship of William Murray’s Potting Balcony Garden at the 2022 RHS Chelsea Flower Show as the design is unveiled for the first time. A long-standing supporter of the RHS, this will be the eighth time Viking has featured at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show – most recently winning gold medals for its Wellness and Art of Viking gardens in 2018 and 2019 which were both in collaboration with garden designer Paul Hervey-Brookes.
Since 1913, the Royal Chelsea Hospital has hosted the world-renowned RHS Chelsea Flower Show, showcasing world class gardens, peerless exhibitors, glorious floristry, and innovative and educational science exhibits. Regularly attracting up to 168,000 visitors, this year the show will run from 24 – 28 May 2022.
The Balcony Gardens, which were trialled at the show in September 2021, will be eligible for judging for the first time this year. The new category was introduced by the RHS to recognise how balconies have been a lifeline for thousands of people over the course of the pandemic with the aim to promote the benefits of plants for our health and the environment. Designed by William Murray of garden design company It Will Grow, The Potting Balcony Garden sponsored by Viking demonstrates how a small urban plot can be used for hands-on gardening. Whilst on furlough during lockdown, William rediscovered his childhood love of gardening and has since achieved an RHS qualification in Horticulture and Garden Planning. A designer by trade, this will be William’s first garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
Wendy Atkin-Smith, Managing Director of Viking UK, said: “Viking is a long-time supporter of the RHS and we share their passion for innovation and creativity. We also share our guests’ passion for horticulture – whether they are green fingered themselves or if they enjoy visiting gardens when travelling around the world with Viking. We always make a point of cultivating and supporting emerging talent wherever we can and we are proud to be part of the new Balcony Garden category at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, particularly as many of us have smaller gardens or live in flats these days. As an up-and-coming garden designer with an eye for maximising smaller spaces and creating serene urban sanctuaries, we are looking forward to working with William as his design philosophy aligns closely with Viking’s. All of the staterooms on Viking’s ocean ships have private verandas so we also appreciate the joys having a balcony can offer as well as the benefits of outdoor space.”
William Murray said: “I am very proud to be working with Viking, a brand known for their appreciation of good design and their innovative approach. I really appreciate their faith in me as a new garden designer participating in the RHS Chelsea Flower Show for the first time. From a very young age I took an immediate interest in plants, spending hours with my grandad in the garden and I was fascinated by the constantly changing outdoor environment. I was so captivated and engrossed by gardening that my parents signed me up for an allotment at the age of six.”
William continues: “With clever use of space The Potting Balcony Garden sponsored by Viking rethinks how we can use limited outdoor spaces for hands-on gardening. The balcony offers a practical place to sow seeds, pot up plants and propagate cuttings, utilising smart garden technology to nurture micro-greens and seedlings ready for the kitchen and for transfer to an allotment or community garden. Making the most of the space, as Viking does exceptionally well on all its ships, this functional design also offers a place to relax amongst the greenery and enjoy the view. I know Viking guests are very passionate about gardening, so I am looking forward to meeting many of them at the show as well as all the other garden enthusiasts.”
As well as a taste for good design, appreciation for nature is deeply engrained in Scandinavian culture and this is reflected in the design of Viking’s river, ocean and expedition ships which feature natural materials, an abundance of space and natural light. Like William Murray, Viking’s designers are experts on making the most of small spaces. All of the staterooms on Viking’s ocean ships have private verandas to allow guests to make the most of outdoor space. Viking’s ocean ships also feature al fresco dining, walking tracks, an outdoor infinity pool and plenty of deck space. The Viking Longships have sun decks which feature organic herb gardens, a range of staterooms including a selection with verandas and walking tracks. Viking’s expedition ships feature a Finse Terrace - an outdoor lounge area with warming lava rock ‘firepits’ - perfect for panoramic views of the surroundings and the staterooms offer Nordic Balconies - the optimal wildlife observatory at sea.
As a champion of gardening, Viking offers a variety of shore excursions on its river, ocean and select expedition itineraries that give guests the opportunity to explore historic and award-winning gardens all over the world. Guests on Viking’s Homelands itinerary can look forward to visiting the Christiansborg Palace & Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen and on Viking’s Paris & the Heart of Normandy journey, guests can choose to stroll in the gardens of the Monet Foundation in Giverny to see first-hand the landscapes that grace Monet’s paintings, including the famous Japanese bridge and water garden. This year on Viking’s Holland & Belgium itinerary guests can visit the international horticulture exhibition Floriade Expo 2022 which is held once every 10 years. On Viking’s Caribbean Connections itinerary on its new expedition ship, Viking Octantis, guests can visit the lush botanical gardens on St. Lucia.
For more information and to purchase tickets for RHS Chelsea Flower Show, go to www.rhs.org.uk/shows-events/rhs-chelsea-flower-show