Home » Events » Garden Museum Chelsea Flower Show Lecture: Sarah Price (The M&G Garden) and Tom Stuart-Smith (The Weston Garden)

Garden Museum Chelsea Flower Show Lecture: Sarah Price (The M&G Garden) and Tom Stuart-Smith (The Weston Garden)

Each year during the Chelsea Flower Show the Garden Museum asks the designer of a show garden to tell the story behind a masterpiece on Main Avenue.

This year we have asked Sarah Price who has designed the M&G Garden to speak, and she will be joined by Tom Stuart-Smith who has designed the Weston Garden in the Great Pavilion.

Each will speak about their experiences and inspiration for their respective designs for this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

For Sarah, the garden she has created expands on an idea that a wall, tree and seat can create a quiet and intimate place of repose. The garden is “a romanticised haven that will celebrate the expressive and sensual language of colour and texture, light and shadow.”

Tom has created an enclosed and enchanted space that emphasises a rich diversity of texture. It is a garden where everything to the smallest item is recycled; many of the plants have been to Chelsea before and are borrowed for the duration of the show.

In a Q&A, chaired by broadcaster and horticulturalist Wesley Kerr OBE, they will be joined by the team from Crocus who have built both gardens and sourced and nurtured their plants.

Speaker Biographies

  • Sarah Price

    Sarah Price

    Sarah Price has rapidly established herself as one of the most prominent and sought-after garden designers in Britain. Drawing on a prior training in fine art and a life-long love of wild and natural environments, her gardens have an immersive quality and are often described as ‘painterly’.

    Her practice is unusual for its breadth and scope of work. Sarah co-designed the 2012 Gardens at London’s Olympic Park and was a planting consultant for LDA Design on the post-Games legacy design. Price continues to work on a number of large public planting schemes as well as private projects. These include new community gardens and an exciting ‘play’ landscape designed in collaboration with MUMA for Cambridge University; an “Art Garden” at Manchester’s Whitworth Art Gallery sponsored by Jo Malone London; and a garden inspired by the New Forest for a new Maggies Centre in Southhampton designed by architects AL_A.

    Price’s designs have collected numerous awards, most notably at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2012, where her Daily Telegraph Garden received a Gold Medal. Sarah is a contributing editor for Gardens Illustrated and also writes for House and Garden and The Telegraph. In 2016 Sarah was awarded Garden Columnist of year by the Garden Media Guild for her monthly series on landscape design.

    Sarah is a visiting lecturer in planting design at the Department of Landscape at Sheffield University and has lectured at the New York Botanical Gardens, Kew Gardens, the Royal Academy, and The Royal Geographical Society in London.

    She graduated with a First class BA (Hons) degree in Fine Art at Nottingham Trent University in 2002 and from 2002 – 2003 worked for a year as a full time gardener at Hampton Court Palace, London.

  • Tom Stuart-Smith

    Tom Stuart-Smith

    Tom Stuart-Smith - credit photographer Andrew Lawson

    Tom Stuart-Smith read Zoology at Cambridge before completing a postgraduate degree in Landscape Design at Manchester University. After working with Hal Moggridge and then with Elizabeth Banks he set up his own practice in 1998.

    Projects include a number of large private gardens in the English countryside, including Broughton Grange and Woodperry in Oxfordshire, Mount St John in Yorkshire, Fort Belvedere in Windsor Great Park and a new garden at Windsor Castle commissioned by the Royal Household to mark the Queen's Golden Jubilee. He was also responsible for the Landscape Masterplan at Trentham and the recasting of its Italian garden, the largest formal garden in England.

    More recent work includes the two hectare garden around the Bicentenary Glasshouse at Wisley for the RHS which was opened to the public by The Queen in June 2007. Tom has also designed a number of smaller inner city gardens including The Garden of Illusion at The Connaught and the Keeper’s House Garden at the Royal Academy of Arts. Tom continues to work on numerous overseas projects throughout Europe, India, USA and Caribbean.

    Tom has designed eight Gold Medal winning gardens at the Chelsea Flower Show and this includes three being awarded best in show. An exhibition on his work, the first about a living garden designer in the UK, was held at the Garden Museum in London in 2011.
    He writes occasionally for the Guardian, Financial Times and Telegraph, amongst others, and has lectured widely in the UK, Europe and USA.

  • Wesley Kerr OBE

    Wesley Kerr OBE

    Writer, broadcaster, horticulturalist, historian. Trustee, The Royal Parks.
    Vice President. Metropolitan Public Gardens Association. 2007-2014 Chairman Heritage Lottery Fund Committee for London.

    Wesley was conceived in Middlesex, Jamaica and born in Middlesex England. Won a county bursary to Winchester College. Open scholarship and MA in History. Trinity College, Cambridge.

    BBC: Wesley was the first ever black production trainee, researcher Panorama, Nationwide, The Book Programme. Director/producer, Arts & Media Correspondent Newsnight. Reporter/director Sixty Minutes, London Plus. News Correspondent, Social Affairs & Education Correspondent -TV and radio news and current affairs. Royal Correspondent through 1990s. New York and Washington Correspondent. Live stories include Heysel Stadium tragedy, Windsor Castle fire, Oklahoma City bomb. His commentary as Elizabeth II returned to Buckingham Palace after Princess Diana’s death is used in Oscar winning film The Queen. BBC presenting team for Golden and Diamond Jubilees and on primetime BBC1 series Watchdog Healthcheck. Face Value. Value for Money. Holiday.
    2001-2009 presenter for BBC Chelsea and Hampton Court Flower Show. the origins and history of plants and gardens worldwide. BBC 2 How Britain got the Gardening Bug. BBC America Royally Mad. Radio 4 Wars of the Roses (about Britain in Bloom ); When Wesley went to Winchester.
    Has reported from 40 countries on 6 continents.
    RHS General Certificate. Former Member RHS Chelsea and Hampton Court Show Gardens Committee. Compere Talks Theatre at both shows Articles in The Times, The Guardian, Sunday Times, TLS, Evening Standard, National Trust Magazine, The Garden, The Lady, Punch, New Society, The Voice Jamaica Gleaner, Transition. Numerous speeches, lectures ( including Garden History Society and Bowles Society), seminars, judging panels, book contributions.

The Gardens

  • The M&G Garden

    The M&G Garden

    The M&G Garden is a romanticised haven designed for a warm, sunny climate. It expands on a timeless idea that a wall, a tree and a seat can create an intimate and beautiful place of repose. Using Mediterranean flora and raw materials dug directly out of the earth (clay, aggregate, pigment and tile), the space celebrates the expressive language of colour, texture, light and shadow.
    This is a garden of contrasts: colour is subtle, but unexpected and dazzling; semi-opaque glazed tiles pick out the silvery tones of subshrubs; and a clashing cacophony of scarlet, pink, lilac and yellow flowers are held together by grassy swathes. At the heart of the space, pomegranate trees command attention, and the glassy surface of a large pool reflects the garden's composition. Planting includes tapestries of ground-hugging, scented herbs punctuated with subshrubs and taller, wispy, diaphanous flowers. Many drought-tolerant plants are included, which are perfectly suited to our warming climate. 

  • The Weston Garden

    The Weston Garden

    Celebrating 60 years of the Garfield Weston Foundation, The Weston Garden is a private, enclosed and romantic space that emphasises the simplest and most enduring characteristics of a private garden: a rich diversity of texture, a carefully studied balance between enclosure and openness with an intimate retreat at its heart. It also balances modernity and tradition, using topiary, but not in a traditional form or in a traditional way. It is an exploratory space where more is revealed on turning every corner and the solidity of some very large topiary is used to make the garden partially subdivided and secret in places.

    The garden is designed with four different entrances so that a number of different aspects of the garden can be seen. It is full of texture and variety with a strong overarching structure of evergreens.

Image: The M&G Garden by Sarah Price