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Show gardens: Guangzhou Garden

Designed by Peter Chmiel, director at Grant Associates, and Chin-Jung Chen, senior associate at the practice, the pair's Chinese-inspired 'The Guangzhou Garden' pays homage to Guangzhou’s philosophy which gives equal consideration to the needs of people and wildlife through sustainable city planning strategies, reconnecting people and nature in a mutually beneficial relationship.

Chelsea Flower Show: Show gardens: Guangzhou Garden designed by Peter Chmiel, Grant Associates

'The Guangzhou Garden: Guangzhou China’ takes inspiration from Guangzhou, a port city northwest of Hong Kong on China’s Pearl River. Currently under construction, it is set to be award-winning landscape architect’s first show garden for the Chelsea Flower Show. The ambitious design concept, which was originally due to be delivered in 2020 before the pandemic led to the cancellation of last year’s event, has now been subtly adapted to best showcase the planting species and aquatic designs at this later time in the year. 

Chelsea Flower Show: Show gardens: Guangzhou Garden designed by Peter Chmiel, Grant Associates

Known as ‘the city between mountain and water’, Guangzhou’s approach to environmental planning is based on the concept of ‘ecological civilisation’. Guangzhou has a distinct environmental plan which divides the city into three zones: social green space for people within the central business district (Heart); protected green spaces to the north (Lungs); and protected aquatic areas to the south (Kidneys).

Chelsea Flower Show: Show gardens: Guangzhou Garden designed by Peter Chmiel, Grant Associates

The ‘Guangzhou Garden’ is inspired by three zones: 

Lungs: Characterful trees (dawn redwood, scots pine, field maple and birch) create the ‘woodland dell’ capturing particulate matter, absorbing nitrous and sulphur dioxide. Sedges, Euphorbia and ferns form a green carpet, punctuated with accent and dome-shaped plants such as rodgersia and angelica. These species all help to clean the water, air and provide a resilient habitat. 

Heart: Areas for people and nature to mingle and rest. These are created through five structures made of laminated moso bamboo (Phyllostachys edulis) - a fast growing, sustainably sourced bamboo that is also easier to recycle than typical construction materials. The tallest structure will be 8.5 m tall. 

Kidneys: Wetlands planted with aquatic plants to improve water quality, including water forget-me-not, irises, scouring rush and floating plants. Stepping stones allow people to experience the water at close range which includes waterfalls and small weirs and cascades over rocks. 

Chelsea Flower Show: Show gardens: Guangzhou Garden designed by Peter Chmiel, Grant Associates

The three garden zones are all visually united by an elegant, graceful drifting wave of green foliage plants including airy frothy perennials in soft shades of white, and subtle hints of blue and yellow. Variations of these colours, including vivid lime green, are woven throughout.

Chelsea Flower Show: Show gardens: Guangzhou Garden designed by Peter Chmiel, Grant Associates

Plant list:

Trees

Metasequoia glyptostroboides
Pinus sylvestris
Acer campestre
Betula pendula

Grasses, Sedges and Ferns

Asplenium scolopendrium
Dryopteris affinis
Carex pendula
Dryopteris filix-mas
Polypodium vulgare
Blechnum spicant
Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola'
Luzula nivea
Carex 'Ice Dance'
Acorus gramineus 'Ogon'
Melica uniflora f. albida
Carex remota
Dryopteris atrata

Herbaceous

Aruncus dioicus
Astrantia major subsp. involucrata 'Shaggy'
Actaea racemosa
Epimedium x youngianum 'Niveum'
Euphorbia palustris
Hosta 'Royal Standard'
Galium odoratum
Rodgersia 'Irish Bronze'
Salvia x sylvestris 'Schneehugel'
Hosta 'Krossa Regal'
Cenolophium denudatum
Rodgersia aesculifolia
Orlaya grandiflora
Thalictrum 'Splendide White'
Tricyrtis 'White Towers'

Aquatic and Marginals 

Gunnera manicata
Salvia uliginosa
Lysimachia clethroides
Acorus gramineus 'Ogon'
Pontederia cordata
Cyperus longus
Menyanthes trifoliata
Equisetum hyemale
Ranunculus aquatilis
Isolepis cernua
Lysimachia nummularia
Lobelia siphilitica 'Alba'
Sagittaria sagittifolia
Magnolia stellata 'Waterlily'
Iris pseudacorus 'Alba'
Cyperus alternifolius

Living Wall

Asplenium scolopendrium
Osmunda regalis
Blechnum spicant
Heuchera americana 'Green Spice'
Lonicera nitida 'Maigrun'
Euphorbia amygdaloides
Hedera helix 'Wonder'
Carex morrowii 'Irish Green'