Kew At Chelsea Flower Show 2011
Kew worked in partnership with The Times to create a garden for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2011. Our garden showcased the significance of plants to science and society through an eye-catching and innovative design by Chelsea gold medallist Marcus Barnett. Our garden won a Silver Flora Award. Find out more about the winners.
The plant species chosen for the garden demonstrate both beauty and utility, including medicinal, commercial, and industrial uses to underline the fact that plants are essential to our everyday lives – without them, none of us could live on this planet. They produce our food, clothing and the air that we breathe.
The garden design
Marcus Barnett will draw inspiration for this modern garden from plant cell structure. The plant species chosen for the garden will demonstrate both beauty and utility.
A central pavilion will provide a contemporary and light space, serving as a destination from which to view the garden. Inspired by leaf capillaries, the structure will radiate along the ground and, in places, rise up the boundary hedging, helping to demonstrate the link between plant and materials.
The boundary walls will provide seclusion and act as a counterpoint and backdrop to the trees. Marcus Barnett says, “As this design evolves and takes shape, I continue to learn more about plants than on any previous project. The inroads we are making into plant science is equally fascinating."
Chelsea garden plants
The notion of plants as essential contributors to life on earth motivates much of Kew’s work around the globe. The plants that will feature in the garden have been chosen according to their contribution to society. These include foxgloves (including Digitalis purpurea albiflora), which can be used in the treatment of cardiac disease, and geraniums, often used as a diuretic and to treat kidney complaints - their leaves can also be used as mosquito repellent. Other plants that inspired the design include the culinary herbs rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) and oregano (Origanum vulgare), and roses, commonly used by the cosmetics industry and by drinks manufacturers.