Brewin Dolphin puts sustainability at heart of its RHS Chelsea Show garden

Brewin Dolphin returns to RHS Chelsea Flower Show this year with a show garden that has been designed to showcase how a former 1900s industrial brownfield site can be transformed with the tenets of sustainability at its heart. With thousands of new homes set to be built on brownfield sites over the coming years, this garden reflects the challenge of inheriting poor soil conditions that many British homeowners will face.

The garden demonstrates how it is possible to rehabilitate such a plot to create a new environmentally sustainable landscape. The garden has been designed by creative force and multi award-winning garden designer, Paul Hervey-Brookes, that Brewin Dolphin has worked with since 2019.

With an emphasis on repurposing and reusing existing materials found within the site such as recycled aggregates, the garden will showcase a range of plants which actively restore polluted soil – the type of conditions which are found in many urban environments – and use plants which absorb CO2 at higher rates to improve air quality. The garden shows how through careful guardianship it is possible to transform contaminated land and leave it in a healthier, more sustainable condition for future generations.

Paul Hervey-Brookes, says, “This Brewin Dolphin Garden is a metaphor for prudent stewardship and custodianship. I want to illustrate that no matter the type of space we might inherit – even the most challenging of urban settings, where top soil is removed or contaminated by heavy irons – it is possible, through the selection of appropriate plants to rehabilitate any area, creating a garden of beauty and leave it thriving for future generations to enjoy.”

The planting is based upon a mix of native pioneer species alongside endemic plants which rehabilitate soils and clean the air through higher rate CO2 absorption. Garden-worthy shrubs and perennials which don’t require a lot of maintenance or are in flower for long periods of time add nectar banks and habitat potential for pollinating bees and other insects.

A range of repurposed materials have been used such as reclaimed and sustainably sourced bricks, Welsh slate paving made from reclaimed slag and pre-treated straw walls. A pool, edged in the Welsh slate, will collect and alleviate the risk of flooding from high volume rainfall events which are increasingly common with the effects of climate change.

There is a small, dedicated space in the garden for edibles, with a variety of fruits, herbs and vegetables in which edibles that tend to be more expensive to produce and therefore purchase (such as gooseberries and raspberries) have been chosen to demonstrate the idea of the ‘best use of space in an urban setting’.

Rupert Tyler, business development director at Brewin Dolphin and chairman of the National Garden Scheme says, “We are delighted to be back at RHS Chelsea this year with The Brewin Dolphin Garden. Paul has designed such a thoughtful garden that demonstrates how even the most urban of sites can be transformed in a sustainable and low impact way for the benefit of the environment. 

Investing for your future, whether in your garden or in your personal finances is something that should be sustainable; leaving the next generation to inherit something that you can both be proud of.

There are clear synergies between taking care of, and regularly tending to a garden and taking care of your long-term wealth. Both require diligence and smart advice in order to flourish and grow so that you end up in a better position than when you started. 

“We’re really proud that we will recycle the garden after the show for the benefit of the Shooting Star Children’s Hospice.” 

After RHS Chelsea, Paul will design a garden at the Shooting Star Children’s Hospice, Christopher’s, in Guildford for the enjoyment of the children and their families who are supported there, using the remaining plants and furniture. Some of the plants will also be sold off with the proceeds going to the charity supported by Brewin Dolphin.

This year marks a decade of Brewin Dolphin’s long association with the RHS having created many award-winning gardens at both the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and the RHS Chatsworth Flower Show.

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