Share this article on Social Media
We are very excited to be sponsoring an edible Sanctuary Garden at the prestigious RHS Chelsea Flower Show in September of this year.
It is all hands on deck at the moment to bring our garden and our vision to life and we can’t wait for you to see it.
Bringing together my two passions in life – gardening and food.The Parsley Box Garden designer Alan Williams, describing his driving force behind the plans taking shape for the garden.
In a 9m x 7m space, our garden designer Alan Williams will be creating a fresh and contemporary garden providing inspiration on how to cook and socialise within a relatively small area.
Inspired by the celebrated Nordic restaurant Noma, that has held the title of Best Restaurant in the World for four years, The Parsley Box Garden focuses on conserving nature’s bounty through fermentation, preservation and pickling. With this premise of self-sustainability at the heart of the garden, the borders will be brimming with edibles to forage and ferment as well as home-grown vegetables to bring flavour to dishes while minimising food waste.
A custom-made outdoor kitchen area will sit at the edge of the garden alongside a wooden cantilevered pergola stretched over a Dutch oval dining table.
Planting will spill from tiered planters constructed in aged tarnished brass. This material alludes to maturing with grace and beauty while contemporary concrete structures reference the stability of firm foundations and reclaimed wood hints at the fluidity of changes in identity throughout life.
It’s a privilege to be creating a vision of so much more than a place to eat and drink. This garden is a statement about the freshness and vitality that we all carry within us and while the body and mind might age, the spirit of who we are remains as constant as the seasons.Garden designer Alan Williams
We’ve called on a brilliant team of experts to bring The Parsley Box Garden to life, including our medal winning designer Alan Williams and renowned British sculptor Simon Gudgeon whose beautiful work will feature in pride of place amongst our kitchen garden setting.
Alan started his career as an interior designer but made the leap to garden design 10 years ago. He has worked on 3 gold medal-winning show gardens and received his first gold and Best in Show at RHS Malvern Spring Festival in 2018.
Alan’s design ethos is around creating elegant spaces that surprise and delight. His eye being initially trained on interiors means that his attention to detail is second to none.
Also a trained florist, Alan has dressed the stages of various RHS shows including RHS Malvern Spring Festival and RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show.
He will be making his Chelsea debut creating an edible Parsley Box masterpiece and is going all out for a gold medal.
Here’s an artist’s impression of Alan’s design for The Parsley Box Garden.
Image courtesy of Lynn Keddie
We caught up with Alan and his ‘rock’, his mum Jean (a Parsley Box customer) to learn more about his career and the inspiration behind The Parsley Box Garden.
Alan, what do you love about garden design?
Taking the essence of someone’s vision, then inviting them on a creative journey as it evolves makes me feel alive. The design process has a rhythm and momentum all of it’s own as ideas develop and grow. Every garden tells it’s own story and that always makes me smile.
Why exhibit a garden at Chelsea?
The world famous event is held in such high esteem and I am always striving to get to the top and to be the best I can be. In my mind, there’s no greater honour than to create a garden for the Chelsea Flower Show.
I love melting into the crowd to eavesdrop on conversations to learn what visitors really think about the exhibits.
Jean, tell us about your relationship with Alan?
Al and I have always been a tight team – I support his love of the arts and design, cheering him on from the side lines. Looking at the world through his eyes has opened mine. I am always amazed at the work that goes into creating a show garden; all of the multitudes of tiny details come together to create a masterpiece and I am left awestruck every time.
Do you share Alan’s love of gardening?
Being outside in the fresh air is a tonic and watching plants bloom and grow is a never-ending source of pleasure and comfort. Nature can’t be rushed and that’s a reminder to us all to slow down, take everything in and appreciate life.
Simon Gudgeon is an award-winning British sculptor whose work sits proudly in locations of extreme significance including London’s Hyde Park, the gardens of Highgrove House – the residence of Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall – as well as the gardens of Sandringham House. Soon to be added to this prestigious list is The Parsley Box Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
Having acquired a law degree and previously worked as a solicitor, insurance salesman and landscape gardener, Simon didn’t try his hand at sculpting until he was 40.
Now 62, Simon along with his wife Monique, owns and operates a 26-acre botanical sculpture garden, complete with galleries, café, retail bazaar and events space, from their home in Dorchester. Opening in 2007, Sculpture by the Lakes was originally intended as a method through which Simon could display his large-scale outdoor sculptures in their intended habitat to potential buyers.
However, upon deciding to open their gardens to the public for a charity weekend, Simon and Monique were quick to see the potential their property had to become what it now is: one of the UK’s premium sculpture parks and tourist attractions.
Abstract shapes can have an intrinsic beauty that has a resonance with the human condition and conveys emotion. It is not so much the quality in the object itself as the effect it has on those who see it.Simon Gudgeon, award-winning British sculptor whose work will feature in The Parsley Box Garden
We will be showcasing Simon’s dual bronze sculptures, ‘Amorous’ in The Parsley Box Garden. Simon believes the reverse heart shaped structures, standing at 85cm in height will bring an uplifting energy to the garden. He says:
“With ‘Amorous’, a contemporary, abstract piece, I loved the shape and decided to do a pair. People will relate to it in their own way and from their own experiences.”
Simon believes sculpture can play an important role in enhancing the beauty of a garden.
As well as being aesthetically pleasing, his pieces for The Parsley Box Garden convey a sense of the wisdom of experience rising up and soaring through life.
“A sculpture, on a superficial level must encapsulate beauty, it must uplift the spirit and enhance its surroundings.
“But on a deeper level it should resonate with the viewer and have a subconscious appeal to their emotions, whether those emotions are the same as the artist intended is not important, what is important is that the viewer connects with the art.”
Carole, a customer of ours, was so inspired by our plans for The Parsley Box Garden that she put pen to paper and wrote us a poem. It beautifully encapsulates life’s journey through the metaphor of a fertile garden tapestry.
Tapestry Garden The tapestry of our life is broad and long With many twists and turns The fresh green of spring heralds new growth It leads us to blossom as flowers in the morning sun Opening our minds and hearts to the beauty around us. We change with the seasons and as we weave the journey Of our lives we come to a sanctuary of peace, an oasis of calm Where cascading flowers create a magical waterfall of vibrant colours To lift our spirits and bring joy to our soul. We continue our journey to find a place where our senses are filled with The fragrance of flowers and herbs. Parsley, Rosemary and Thyme, a box of aromatic delights A box created with love for us to enjoy as we are held within the Warm embrace of a canopy of shady trees Surrounded by Echinacea’s purple cones and Fragaria’s white flowers. The tapestry grows with our journey and as we come To the autumn of our years we embrace the golden tones of maturity Knowing that maturity will bring a richness to the texture. We weave our tapestry as a gardener weaves his garden using colours From Nature’s palette, and we enjoy the fruits of his labours as we journey Through the Tapestry Garden. ©Carole Harradence 2021
Millions of us have found solace in our gardens over the last year and gardening as a hobby has exploded in popularity. According to a market research survey by GlobalData, gardening was listed as the second most popular lockdown activity people planned to do after watching TV, ahead of cooking, reading and exercising.
The sudden halt to our hectic lifestyles and enforced time at home fostered a need to connect with nature and the great outdoors. As a nation we’ve been busy channelling our creativity into our green spaces, creating our own havens, big and small, from grand landscape gardening projects to intricate window boxes.
Read more on the many health benefits of gardening here.
The glamorous and quintessentially British event has been held in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, London every year since 1913, apart from gaps during the two World Wars and last year during the height of the pandemic.
However 2021 is the first year ever that the show has been postponed and held in September instead of it’s usual May at the start of the gardening season. For the first time in its 108 year history, the event will also run for six days instead of five, with the first two days being reserved for RHS members.
I hope my energetic vision opens a space for conversations about celebrating life at every age and all its vivid colour.Garden designer Alan Williams
Our edible garden will be located in the Sanctuary Gardens section. These spaces offer thought-provoking designs that tell a story and offer plenty of take-home inspiration.
The Parsley Box Garden, will be more than a place to entertain friends, dine and relax in, it will be a space where fresh ideas are sown that will challenge the stereotype of aging, providing plenty of food for thought. We want the garden to represent the vitality of you, our customers.
Our Sanctuary Garden at RHS Chelsea is both a celebration of good food and of a good life. We want it to smash the stereotypical views held about the over 60s. They are the original rule breakers, they paved our way and we want to celebrate them with this garden.Adrienne Macaulay, co-founder of Parsley Box
“As we advance in years we don’t stop wanting what we enjoyed as our younger selves. The garden will represent that with a modern twist on a traditional kitchen garden for the imagined owner to savour flavour, forage, preserve the fruits of their labour and entertain friends in.”
But here’s the really exciting part. Last month we ran a competition to showcase some of our customers’ talents on the garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. We want to be able to use our created space to smash stereotypes and exemplify the passions and skills of individuals in the over 60s demographic.
Keep an eye on our social media channels during show week for all things RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
The RHS Chelsea Flower Show runs from 21-26th September 2021.