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Show gardens: The Florence Nightingale Garden

Designed by Robert Myers, The Florence Nightingale Garden – A Celebration of Modern Nursing, was first intended for the 2020 show to honour the bicentenary of the acclaimed nurse, social reformer and statistician known as the founder of modern nursing. 

Chelsea Flower Show 2021: Show gardens: The Florence Nightingale Garden by designer Robert Myers

It arrives on Main Avenue in September in its original design, depicting an imagined hospital courtyard enclosed on three sides bya sculptural timber pergola. Replacing the shady woodland garden planned for last year’s show, the autumn garden will be a more open space with drifts of late-flowering perennials, grasses and bulbs;Florence Nightingale’s favourite flower, the foxglove, will now be incorporated in the form of seed heads.

Chelsea Flower Show 2021: Show gardens: The Florence Nightingale Garden by designer Robert Myers

The original design also used many medicinal plants that would have been used in Florence Nightingale’s time, as well as plants that feature in her childhood pressed flower collection. These will still feature throughout the garden, and will include Chinese rhubarb, witch hazel and ferns.

Chelsea Flower Show 2021: Show gardens: The Florence Nightingale Garden by designer Robert Myers

Reflecting the revolutionary ‘pavilion-style’ hospital layouts advocated by Nightingale, the restorative garden has been designed for viewing from inside the building, as well as for strolling through with places to rest among naturalistic planting and a reflecting pool to engage the senses.

Chelsea Flower Show 2021: Show gardens: The Florence Nightingale Garden by designer Robert Myers

Key elements of Florence Nightingale’s life will be referenced throughout the space.  Images of her will appear in slightly opaque windows; fragments of her handwriting will be inscribed on the walls to embody her extensive writing in support of healthcare reform, alongside images of some of the flowers found in her pressed flower collection, including peonies and ferns.

In recognition of modern-day nursing, representations of the Florence Nightingale Nurses badge will be set into the path as small bronze roundels, with a larger badge - redesigned to mark the bicentenary - marking the end of the trail. Denoting both Florence Nightingale’s enduring legacy and her ability to inspire the next generation of leaders in the nursing profession, the badges were originally created for nurses who qualified at the Nightingale School at St Thomas’ Hospital in London - the world’s first professional nursing school established by Florence Nightingale in 1925.

Plant list:

HERBACEOUS: Sunnier

Prunella vulgaris
Echinacea purpurea 'White Swan'
Calamagrostis brachytrich
Thalictrum delavayi
Pennisetum alopecuroides 'Hameln'
Saponaria officinalis
Geranium 'Rozanne'
Astrantia 'Roma'
Selinum wallichianum
Geranium 'Dragon Heart'
Knautia arvensis
Knautia macedonica 'Red Knight'
Geranium nodosum
Sesleria autumnalis
Pennisetum alopecuroides 'Red Head'
Digitalis ferruginea 'Gelber Herold'
Dahlia 'Verrone's Obsidian'

HERBACEOUS: Shadier

Asplenium scolopendrium
Vinca minor
Dryopteris filix-mas
Polypodium vulgare
Osmunda regalis
Vinca major
Eurybia divaricata
Alchemilla erythropoda
Asarum europaeum
Adiantum pedatum
Tricyrtis formosana
Liriope muscari 'Big Blue'
Lunaria rediviva
Hakonechloa macra
Melica uniflora f. albida
Eurybia schreberi
Digitalis ferruginea 'Gelber Herold'

SPECIMEN TREES

Betula nigra
Heptacodium miconioides

TOPIARY

Taxus baccata

SHRUBS

Ruscus aculeatus
Daphne x transatlantica 'Eternal Fragrance'
Hamamelis virginiana

CLIMBERS

Vitis vinifera
Humulus lupulus 'Centennial'

AQUATICS

Nuphar lutea
Equisetum hyemale

POTS

Hosta 'Frances Williams' (sieboldiana)
Hosta 'June'
Hosta (Tardiana Group) 'Halcyon'
Hosta 'Devon Green'
Hosta 'Purple Heart'