Welcome to Yorkshire is marking its 10th birthday and 10th year at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show with a garden which captures the beauty of the county’s canals and celebrates the drama of Yorkshire’s rich industrial heritage.
It has been designed by Mark Gregory who worked on Welcome to Yorkshire’s most successful Chelsea garden to date, last year. His 2018 Dales inspired garden scooped a Gold Medal, the People’s Choice Award and won the prize for Best Construction.
The highlight of the 2019 Welcome to Yorkshire show garden is the authentically built canal with flowing water and genuine canal lock gates. The Mark Gregory-designed garden also includes a towpath and a lock keeper’s lodge with a colourful garden and vegetable patch. This is the 99th garden he has worked on at the prestigious show.
The garden is inspired by Yorkshire’s proud history of industry, manufacturing and innovation but also the county’s stunning natural environment and many green spaces. The canal featured runs next to a perennial meadow, and the planting celebrates the rich diversity of native flora alongside cultivated varieties.
This atmospheric garden evokes the very essence of the county, striking a balance between the industrial and the beautiful, demonstrating that a working lock can also be a place of tranquillity and charm. The aim of the garden is to inspire those who see it, to visit Yorkshire and experience the county’s beauty first hand.
Lock gates recently removed from a canal in Yorkshire were donated by Canal & River Trust for this year’s 2019 Welcome to Yorkshire RHS Chelsea show garden.
The Trust teamed up with the Welcome to Yorkshire for this year’s prestigious flower show to celebrate the county’s rich industrial heritage and the hundreds of miles of stunning waterways which run across the county.
The national waterways and wellbeing charity, which cares for canals including the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, Pocklington Canal and Sheffield & Tinsley Canal, helped to make sure the garden brought to life a totally authentic Yorkshire experience and provided old lock gates from the Huddersfield Narrow Canal to form the focal point of the garden.
People from across the Trust, including volunteer lock keepers, heritage experts, and apprentice carpenters, supported the garden by sharing their knowledge, lending artefacts, and getting hands-on to help build some of the features.
Mark Gregory, Garden Designer, said:
I’m honoured to have been asked to create Welcome to Yorkshire’s 10th garden at RHS Chelsea. My design will try to capture the magic of the narrow canals, a stunning legacy of the Industrial Revolution, which are now a massive part of tourism in Yorkshire after being carefully and lovingly renovated to create a unique eco system and valuable leisure resource.
The garden will have all the drama and excitement of a working canal, with two gates and a bypass sluice system with lots of moving water. It will feature authentic Yorkshire stonework and trees local to the county with a modern style perennial meadow bordering the canal towpath. Chelsea 2018 was all about the detail and my ambition for 2019 is to raise the bar yet again.”
Peter Dodd, Commercial Director of Welcome to Yorkshire, said:
“Yorkshire has always been a world leader when it comes to innovation and we are hugely proud of our industrial heritage. Combining this with our county’s natural beauty will make a brilliant theme for next year’s RHS Chelsea garden.
I’m delighted we have Mark Gregory on board as our designer once again for such a special year – as we celebrate 10 years of Welcome to Yorkshire and our 10th garden at the prestigious flower show where we showcase our great county to the world with the aim of enticing visitors to come see everything we have on offer for themselves.”
This is not the first time canal lock gates have been featured at RHS Chelsea Flower Show. The HESCO Garden 2010, produced by Leeds City Council's Parks and Countryside staff with engineering design and support from sponsors HESCO Bastion Limited, was modelled on a section of the Leeds-Liverpool Canal complete with a canal and full-sized lock gates as the centrepiece. This garden, along with a number of other previous show gardens from Chelsea Flower Show are on permanent display to the public at Roundhay Park in Leeds. These gardens provide a lasting legacy to the memory of HESCO Bastion owner Jimi Heselden OBE, who passed away tragically in 2010. Jimi worked closely with Leeds City Council on the design, development and funding for a number of award-winning RHS Chelsea Flower Show garden entries and was well known for his charitable work and generosity.