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We’ve been hatching our master plan to create a garden to showcase at the world’s greatest flower show for quite some time now.
At the height of the pandemic, during the first lockdown, our co-founder Adrienne MacAulay was brainstorming ideas to lift everyone’s spirits. The question she posed was what was one event that would bring sunshine to the lives of our loyal customers and how could we get involved?
Fast forward 18 months and here we are in the final planning stages, getting ready to exhibit a garden, for and with our customers, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
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.
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.
Our mission is to bring the best-loved gardening event to you, by involving you in the planning, the build and transporting you (virtually) to the finished garden by live streaming from the event itself. There will also be an opportunity for our customers to win tickets (more on that later).
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.
To date, since the first show in 1913, there have been 98 RHS Chelsea Flower Shows and we are looking forward to celebrating its 99th event.
2021 is the first year ever that it’s been postponed and held in September instead of at the start of the gardening season in May. For the first time in its 108 year history, the event will also run for six days instead of its usual five days, with the first two days being reserved for RHS members.
The RHS Chelsea Flower show is divided up into sections, including Show Gardens, Artisan Gardens, Urban Gardens and new for this year Container Gardens and Balcony Gardens. The positive impact of plants on our health and wellbeing will be a prominent theme this year, tapping into our reignited love for gardening. The Parsley Box Garden will be no exception to the rule.
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
We’ve called on a brilliant team of experts to bring your Parsley Box Garden to life, including Alex Denman former RHS Chelsea Flower Show manager at Royal Horticultural Society and of course our medal winning designer Alan Williams.
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 a Parsley Box masterpiece and is going all out for a gold medal.
Here’s a sneak preview of what he has in store for The Parsley Box Garden.
Image courtesy of Lynn Keddie
Our garden will be in the Artisan Gardens section, located in leafy Ranelagh Gardens. These smaller 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 Artisan 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 and chief product officer of Parsley Box
“We’re delighted to be at Chelsea Flower Show for the first time, with a garden that we hope will get people talking.
“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.”
In a 6m x 8m space, Alan 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 and preservation. 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.
Fragrant herbs, edible flowers and perennials will also feature in the borders, adding texture and dimension to the garden. Various trees provide height and scale, Arbutus unedo, Malus ‘Evereste’, espalier fruit trees and Cornus kousa.
A custom made outdoor kitchen area with a green wall and storage 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. These tiered planters enable the garden to be accessible to all generations. They add a sense of abundance in nature whilst also creating a boundary to the space.
The materials used in the garden have been carefully selected to subtly bring the conversation around ageing to the fore. Aged brass planters allude to maturing with grace and beauty, contemporary slick 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
This is your garden and while Alan has made a start on the design, all gardens are constantly evolving works of art and we want your input. We will be putting regular call outs on social media channels getting your feedback on different features and elements within the garden.
But here’s the really exciting part, we want to use the finished garden to showcase your talents and so we’ll be holding a series of competitions for you to win tickets and exhibit your skills. For example, we will be looking to revive the lost art of pickling and preserving, we want to invite artists onto the garden to paint and flower arrangers to create breath-taking displays with dried flowers.
If you’d like to take part, please get in touch.