It was an honour for our team to build The Stitchers Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2022. This was Champain’s first show garden build. Having never exhibited at any of the RHS shows, you could say we threw ourselves straight in at the deep end by going straight for Chelsea!
12 months of intricate planning went into the garden – every single element had been cleverly thought through and discussed at length. We felt prepared on the first day of built, although we didn’t have any idea of what to expect, having not built a garden at Chelsea before. But we arrived at the crack of dawn, found our plot and got stuck into building straightaway. It felt amazing finally breaking ground having discussed it for so long.
The building process for our team was a blur. Working 12 hours on site was a short day, and the evenings consisted mainly of shovelling as many calories into our mouths as possible before getting some rest! Nevertheless, it was an exciting and inspiring project to be involved it. The atmosphere on site was enthusiastic and motivating, although rather chaotic too! But despite this, everyone supports each other and helps out. Everyone is there with the same objective.
Our incredible build team put everything they had into creating the garden over the two weeks. By the time we returned to Suffolk we were wiped out, having been living on coffee and adrenaline for the past fortnight.
The show week was a huge celebration and it was fantastic to see the team so proud of what we had achieved. We had many lovely conversations with members of the public and garden professionals in our garden, which received a lot of positive feedback.
It was fantastic to be involved with Fine Cell Work, an inspirational charity that teach prisoners needlework. The design of the garden was inspired by Fine Cell Work, so we were pleased to see how happy they were with the garden. Overall the team saw Chelsea as a complete success, making long-lasting connections.
To top off the wonderful experience, we were delighted to be awarded a Silver medal. It was a truly inspiring experience which challenged all of our creativity and skill, but above all great fun. We will be back for Gold!
Look out for our ‘Chelsea Collection’ launching at the end of July. This will consist of our Chelsea Pavilions, screening panels, the day bed, and a wonderful range designed by Cath Kidston’s studio Joy of Print. In collaboration with Brampton Willows and Fine Cell Work.
We will also be building a simplified version of The Stitchers Garden inside a prison in Suffolk at the end of summer, giving the garden a legacy. Something we are all very proud to be part of.
You may have already heard the news via our socials. But at Champain, we are absolutely thrilled to be working on our first project for The Chelsea Flower Show. The prestigious flower show will run for six days from Tuesday 24th to Saturday 28th of May 2022, at The Royal Hospital, Chelsea. While it took place in September last year for the first time in the show’s 108-year history, this year will see the event return to its usual May dates.
The Stitchers’ Garden was designed by Frederic Whyte, an award-winning landscape and garden designer. Working across the UK, his portfolio also includes projects in Italy and most recently, Cape Town, South Africa.
The garden will be built by ourselves and our sister company, Brampton Willows. It celebrates Fine Cell Work, a charity teaching prisoners needlework, a skill that nurtures their self-worth and encourages them to lead independent and crime-free lives upon release. The Stitchers’ Garden celebrates Fine Cell Work’s 25th anniversary. It couldn’t have been done without the generous sponsors from Nina Campbell and William Yeoward.
Visitors will see into the garden through a ‘cell’. This simple structure, made of steel, with contemporary woven willow panels replicates the dimensions of their prison space. Opposite, a larger pavilion echoes the form of the cell. It is also constructed of steel, with more open woven willow panels. It is a metaphor for the space in which the creative exchange between prisoners, designers and Fine Cell Work takes place. Between these two structures is a pool with fountain jets. The pool sits in a herbaceous parterre, harmoniously filled with planting combinations in pale yellow, soft pinks and cream.
The garden feels restful and inspiring. It is reflective and uplifting, expansive and optimistic, solitary and celebratory, calming but colourful.