World Child Cancer Nurturing Garden receives first RHS Environmental Innovation Award

Company: RHS

Today, at the Preview Day of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, first time garden designer Giulio Giorgi and Garden Contractor Landesigns received the inaugural RHS Environmental Innovation Award in recognition of the efforts they have gone to in order to reduce the environmental footprint of the World Child Cancer Nurturing Garden at this year’s show. 

The new award, which was open to all those in the Show and Sanctuary Garden categories at this year’s show, was introduced to recognise and celebrate the innovative ways designers and contractors have reduced the environmental impact of the gardens they have created.

The judging panel, which consisted of Malcolm Anderson, RHS Head of Sustainability, Liz Nicholson Managing Director at Nicholsons and Paul Cowell Chartered Landscape Architect, were unanimous in their decision.

About the winners Malcolm Anderson, RHS Head of Sustainability said; “It was a really difficult decision to make but we felt the World Child Cancer Nurturing Garden stood out as a beautifully simple example of merging old techniques with new, where Giulio has used 3D printing to create traditional keyhole gardens. The garden has been created using products made entirely from soil and timber and in its construction no power tools have been used, only hand tools, so it is a fine example of how we can design and build gardens more sustainably in the future.”

“This year has marked something of a seismic shift in the way the gardens have been designed and built, yes, we can always do better and there is always something new to learn. But we should all take a moment to celebrate the sustainability stories embedded in this year’s gardens.”

Eleven gardens applied to be considered for this award, which were judged according to seven criteria including construction, overall innovation, and biodiversity. This involved judges considering end of life plans for the gardens, whether materials can be reused, and how it will benefit the community and environment in its final location.

Innovations commended by the judges in the other gardens considered for the award included the use of hemp in the construction of the Stroke Association’s Garden for Recovery designed by Miria Harris and built by Mark Gregory of Landform Consultants, which also included a prototype hemp composite paving never been tried at the show before.   The judges were also particularly impressed with how designers Tom Massey and Je Ahn along with Landscape Associates created the WaterAid Garden with its relocated site at the forefront.  The garden has the potential to make a difference globally as plans for the rainwater harvesters in the garden will be freely available from WaterAid so that these can be replicated anywhere in the world. 

RHS Director General Clare Matterson said: “The efforts all designers and contractors at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show have gone to in order to reduce their gardens impact on the environment should be commended and demonstrates fantastic progress and a huge shift forward as we continue to work collaboratively on our journey to make the show and indeed the whole industry adopt more sustainable practices in garden design. Thank you to everyone involved and we look forward to seeing many more creative sustainable innovations in the future.”

The rest of the RHS medals will be awarded tomorrow, Tuesday 21 May when the show opens to RHS Members. RHS Chelsea Flower Show runs from 21-25 May 2024.

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