London, UK: A trendsetting event, RHS Chelsea Flower Show in London, UK, is the most prestigious gardening event, attracting designers, plant producers, celebrities, and gardeners, both amateur and professional. The winner of the coveted award for Best in Show in 2021 was the Guangzhou Garden which showcases the important green city principle of plants delivering multiple benefits to people and the planet.
Designed by Peter Chmiel and Chin-Jung Chen of Grant Associates in Bath, UK, the garden is a representation of the City of Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong Province in southern China. Guangzhou has an impressive and ambitious greening strategy to connect the city with the surrounding environment, positioned as it is between mountains and the Pearl River. Technical Advisor for AIPH, Dr Audrey Timm, who was present at the elaborate opening ceremony, said “the Guangzhou Garden demonstrates this approach in taking design beyond the aesthetic. The plant choices reflect the extension of knowledge to practice that is beginning to, and must become, integral to our gardens and landscapes.”
The impressive central 8.5m tall geodesic structure, one of five in the garden, provides a space for socialising, play, or rest. Made of laminated bamboo, the structures demonstrate the use of sustainable and recyclable building materials. The strong vertical line of these structures is mirrored in the use of plants with a vertical form to create pleasing design integrity.
AIPH worked with Grant Associates in designing the AIPH Rewilding Garden at the 2019 Beijing World Horticultural Expo which also demonstrated the benefits of integrating nature into cities and urban areas through an immersive experience. AIPH Secretary General, Tim Briercliffe, commenting on the Guangzhou Garden, says, “The garden shows how development can happen in a city, bringing in the ecological aspects”. Designer Peter Chmiel agrees, stating that “landscape and urban design must create a framework for physical and sensory encounters with nature, while safeguarding natural resources of food, soil, air, water, and biodiversity.”
AIPH is proud to have many friends and colleagues in China who contribute to collaborative global networks in ornamental horticulture. China has a long tradition in gardens, and it is magnificent to have this constant presence at RHS Chelsea Flower Show, thanks to the generous support of Creativersal International.