The Royal Bank of Canada Garden starts from a very simple truism. Our planet needs water, and water equals life. The garden is divided into three main parts: a zero irrigation ‘dry garden’, a central water harvesting/storage zone and an edible garden with a raised seating/dining platform. Clifton Nurseries, the oldest nursery in London, were employed by The Royal Bank of Canada to design and construct this show garden. Due to our long working history with Clifton we were chosen to undertake all of the water related aspects of the design, and became part of an award winning team.
Our task was to construct 3 separate water features, with limited time and a very high spec it was going to be a challenging, but highly rewarding project.
The first and second features were to represent a stone river bed, with a small amount of water lapping up across the spanish stone snaking through it, and curling around the olive tree. The concept was that it was to be used as a water harvesting zone to feed the edible plants of the garden.
The first stage was to fibre glass the containers to make them water-tight. Then to install flanges and all pipework, pumps, UVs and water top-ups.
Next all of the legs were set and levelled to support the 1000kg, hand picked stone imported from Santander, Spain. The stone was then lifted into place by JCB. Manoeuvering around the 150-year old macro bonsai olive tree without damaging it was a challenge in itself.
Once the stone was in place the levels then had to be fine-tuned to allow the water to lap perfectly over the curves without covering the raised sections. The fibre glass containers were then resealed where the stone flowed in and back out of the water.
Now all of the technical work was done on the first two features it was time to fill the feature with lytag, covering all of the pumps and pipes and forming the under-gravel filter to keep the water sparking clean. This was then topped with decorative pebbles and aquatic plants were planted with great attention to detail with the design.
Once the first two features were completed our attention turned to the third. The 3 drystone clad pond features and solid copper water chutes that disappeared into the ground, were a main feature on this project. Attention to detail and perfection were key to its success.
Firstly the fibre glass containers were installed, again the flanges, pumps and pipework came next. The drystone wall was then built around the containers and the solid copper chutes were then installed at precise measurements and sealed around to make water tight. The chutes had to be handled with gloves and polished constantly to keep shiny and unmarked.
Lastly each section was decorated with pebbles to correct levels, the purpose cut coping was laid to frame the feature and the hidden underground sump was installed to collect the water and recirculate it.
After many man hours, countless late nights and early starts the project was completed. From start to end it was an amazing project to work on with some brilliant designers, landscapers, gardeners and many other people. The exhibition was awarded a Silver-Gilt concluding the end of a great show!
Chelsea Flower show 2016
Inspired by York Minster's great East Window.
The garden highlights the beauty of the largest single expanse of medieval stained glass in the UK, via planting and landscaping which has been designed to reflect the wider Yorkshire landscape as well as the Minster itself.
The planting reflects the shapes and colours of the medieval stained glass, while the furniture of a cathedral - benches, pews and ornamental tombs - are to be represented by timber seats and blocks of yew and stone.
Stone gargoyles and monoliths will be loaned by historic sites across Yorkshire, whilst York Glaziers Trust themselves are creating our stunning window, with hand blown glass from the supplier used by the Minster.
Get in touch
Aquascapes Water Garden Specialists have worked on projects for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, and we’re very proud of what we created. If you’d like to find out more about what we can do for your garden, get in touch.