TRENTHAM AT CHELSEA
Laurent-Perrier has announced plans for its seventh successive show garden at the 2005 RHS Chelsea Flower Show (24th – 28th May). This yearFor Chelsea 2005
Laurent-Perrier is teaming up with award winning designer Tom Stuart-Smith for the fourth time.
The 2005 Laurent-Perrier Garden The 2005 Laurent-Perrier Garden celebrates the revival of the historic Italian Garden at Trentham on the banks of the river Trent in Staffordshire; replanted in a modern style by Tom Stuart-Smith and Piet Oudolf and recently reopened to the public. Tom’s Laurent-Perrier Garden at Chelsea will be inspired by the great Italian Gardens at Trentham, which have been recast to his designs.
The Trentham gardens were originally created by Charles Barry from 1833 onwards but fell in to disrepair during the 20th Century. The thinking behind Tom’s work both at Trentham and for the Laurent-Perrier Garden at Chelsea is to retain the formal, classical structure of the original garden but to overlay it with an expansive, layer of contemporary, meadow like-planting that challenges the underlying Victorian rigidity. "It is important that while we restore the fabric of this great garden we also give it contemporary relevance" suggests Tom Stuart-Smith. Rivers of grass, symbolising the tributaries of the River Trent, run through the garden.
A key feature of the Laurent-Perrier Garden is an arbour of weeping hornbeam, leading to a statue of the goddess Hygiea, which will capture the spirit of the famous trellis
walk at Trentham. In the arbour a series of carved stone panels set into the side wall depict the landscapes of Trentham through the ages.
A series of water canals will evoke the presence of water at Trentham; the canals of the lost 18th century garden, the large fountains in the Italian garden and Trentham’s setting on the banks of the river Trent and at the head of Capability Brown's magnificent lake. Four giant Borghese urns and a carved stone seat have been created or restored for the garden and will return to the Italian Garden at Trentham after the show.
Trentham was one of the UK's most important and influential gardens and the home of the Dukes of Sutherland until the middle of the last century. It is now owned by the private company Trentham Leisure Ltd, a subsidiary of St Modwen Properties plc, who are masterminding a £100m regeneration programme of the 800 acre estate.
Tom Stuart-Smith is one of the UK’s best reputed and sought after garden designers, and has designed three gold medal winning Chelsea show gardens for Laurent-Perrier in the past. Tom’s Laurent-Perrier Harpers & Queen Garden took the coveted ‘Best in Show’ title in 2003.
Once again, the Laurent-Perrier garden will be built by crocus.co.uk, the UK’s largest on-line garden centre. For those who want their own piece of Chelsea, most of the plants on the garden will be available for purchase on-line at www.crocus.co.uk.
The 2005 RHS Chelsea Flower Show has been extended for an extra day. The show runs from 24th – 28th May 2005 (24th/25th are RHS members days). Tickets (all must be booked in advance) range from £11.50 (for RHS members) to £38 (plus £1.60 handling charge). To book and for more information call 0870 906 3781.
For further information, please contact Jen Eveleigh or Suze Maskell at Wild Card 299, Oxford Street, London W1C 2DZ Tel: 0207 355 0655 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The proposed garden celebrates the revival of Trentham in North Staffordshire. Previously the home of the Dukes of Sutherland, it became one of the great gardens of the mid 19th century after it was remodelled by Charles Barry from the late 1830’s. The house was demolished in the early 20th century and the gardens gradually declined. But the structure of Barry’s great Italian garden remains and is now to be restored. The garden is being recast by Piet Oudolf and Tom Stuart-Smith and the proposed garden at Chelsea is intended to capture some of the character of the place and the proposed planting in the first phase of replanting being carried out by Tom Stuart-Smith in 2004-5.
The Chelsea garden, like the proposed garden at Trentham is a mix of classicism and modernity. The raised arcade along one side of the garden will be of Carpinus betulus “Pendula” and is formed in the proportions of Trentham’s famous trellis walk, an iron pergola which runs along one side of the Italian garden and overlooks the 10 acre parterre. In the Chelsea garden it overlooks a broad expanse of perennial planting, which is divided by a series of narrow canals. These refer to the dominant presence of water at Trentham: the huge fountains in the Italian garden, the 80 acre lake laid out by “Capability” Brown, and the River Trent that runs through the garden.
The arbour of weeping hornbeam, leads to a statue of the goddess Hygiea, the Goddess of health and daughter of Aesculapias. The Statue is from Trentham and is probably the work of Antonio Sola, a Catalonian sculptor working in the mid 19th century and known to have worked for the 2nd Duke. The head and fingers have recently been recarved by Cliveden Conservation and the statue will return to Trentham after the show.
The large classical urns are based on those originally at Trentham and after the show will be installed in the Upper Flower Garden (recently replanted). At the back of the garden is a curved stone seat, derived from a larger structure at Trentham. This is backed by Italianate planting including Cupressus sempervirens and Osmanthus heterophyllus.
The following describes the planting at Trentham, which is relevant to the planting in the Chelsea garden. The recasting of the Lower Flower Garden - the main terrace of Sir Charles Barry's Italian garden is deliberately subversive. Barry's concept is masterful in its creation of a grand formal landscape that has few equals in Britain, expressing all the confidence and power of the empire at its zenith. But from today's perspective the design can seem like an act of obsessive control. Nature is subdued and distant. The visitor is kept at least 30 ft from the nearest flower. All is symmetry - to be admired but not touched.
The proposed replanting changes this. The original structure of the garden - paths, banks, balustrades and formal clipped evergreens is retained - but the proportion of the garden that is planted is more than tripled. The new planting is made up of interweaving drifts of herbaceous perennials, creating a pointillist, asymmetrical and subtle effect; a far cry from the bright blocks of coloured bedding and shrubs that filled the beds in the 19th century.
New ramps are introduced, leading down into the sunken areas around the fountain basins so that the visitor can move through the plantings and sit on the edge of the fountains. At this lower level the planting is more characteristic of a meadow, using drifts of taller perennials, many of which will be left standing into late winter. Rivers of grass will run through the planting, an accurate translation of the pattern of the River Trent and its tributaries that spread like a continuous, organic net over the Midlands. The river is the reason for the existence of Trentham, the name, the place and the garden. The river of grass points to the resurgence of the Trent as a natural force (now brimming with fish) and is symbolic of the free and organic pattern of design adopted in contrast to the preceding Victorian order.
The grassy rivers will be repeated at Chelsea. A framework of Miscanthus divides up the other perennial groupings and provides a contrast of texture. However, these are envisaged as a feature of the planting that would be more prominent in late summer through to the end of winter and so not especially legible as “rivers” at the end of May.
The hornbeam tunnel is under-planted with shade tolerant hostas, grasses and violas. In the tunnel there are a series of 4 carved panels set in to the side wall of the garden and embowered by the leafy branches. These are made by stone carver Gary Breeze and evoke the lost landscapes of Trentham that have been buried or obscured since the end of the 17th century and the new landscape that is now emerging.