The Perennial Lifeline Garden is only possible with the support and input of people and companies from across the industry. Our Garden Blog tracks the progress of the garden in the lead up to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in May. Here the designers Colm Joseph and Duncan Cargill, along with other members of the garden team, give details of the garden’s latest developments, supplier visits, garden team meetings and plant progress.

|| APRIL 2019 ||

by Ross Conquest, MD Conquest Creative Spaces, who is leading the build of the Perennial Lifeline Garden with support from a group of apprentices from the APL

Earlier this month we gave a group of year two apprentices from the Association of Professional Landscapers (APL) a taste of what building a garden at Chelsea entails. We all headed to Urban Landscape Design’s training centre in Cheshire to create a mock up of the hard landscaping in Colm and Duncan’s design. 

Ross Conquest (far left) with the group of apprentices from the APL who will help build the Perennial Lifeline Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019. Photo credit: Ginger Horticulture

Building a garden at Chelsea is the ultimate test of planning, skill and determination for the modern landscaper and time is always against you. We wanted to give the apprentices a feel for what will be involved and unveil some of the secrets in how these gardens can be built under such time pressure, ready to be seen by thousands of eagerly waiting public, judges, global media and industry peers.

Photo credit: Ginger Horticulture

We started by breaking the garden down into its elements and created an in-depth plan to understand its construction requirements. We ran through the planning and scheduling of the garden and considered key factors that would have an impact on the build such as site location, material logistics, weather and heavy days of peak traffic. We then marked out the hard landscaping and set out the paving, as well as including some of the hidden prefabrication work and under-structures of the garden. Afterwards the team re-evaluated the process to look at any potential problems and where they might be losing time.

Photo credit: Ginger Horticulture

One of the biggest challenges from a construction point of view is that the Perennial Lifeline Garden will be built within the Great Pavilion, which is a no dig zone. The garden will be set up to 300mm above ground height but without being able to dig down, there are many complications to overcome, including not being able to use any post holes, concrete supports or excavated foundations. This means prefabricated frames will be made and lifted in positions.

Photo credit: Ginger Horticulture

The task of creating this ambitious and exciting garden in the pavilion without digging down is fraught with challenges, but it means that we have had to come up with creative solutions. It was great to have had this opportunity to show the apprentices what is involved, so that hopefully things will go smoothly once we get on site. For the apprentices, being involved in the world’s most famous flower show during their training is fantastic experience and we hope it will help keep them inspired in their careers to come.

Photo credit: Ginger Horticulture

|| MARCH 2019 ||

by Colm Joseph

We developed the initial concept and outline design for the Perennial Lifeline Garden back in June 2018 and it’s been a whirlwind of activity since then! The 10m x 10m garden is ambitious, both in terms of its planting and hard landscaping, so there has been a huge amount of detailed design work to turn concept into reality. From selecting roses for our rose meadow to mocking up bespoke water features, creating stone columns and cantilevered seats to tagging trees, it’s been a fantastic experience so far. All the way along, we’ve been fortunate to collaborate with some of the best people across the horticulture industry. The support for Perennial and our project has been wonderful.

Among all the various elements in the design, the stand out feature of the Perennial Lifeline Garden is the sustainable and low maintenance ‘rose meadow’. Roses will be planted in amongst ornamental grasses, perennials and annuals to create a striking and texturally rich display with long seasonal interest. We’ve been working closely with Ian Limmer and his team at Peter Beales Roses to select a range of roses that will thrive in this naturalistic, low maintenance scheme. We’ve also worked with Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants to select the perennials and grasses for the mix. With the roses, we’ve settled on a mix of species, shrub and climbing varieties, including roses such as Rosa glauca (centre), Rosa ‘Smarty’ (right) and Rosa ‘Purple Skyliner’ (left).

It’s going to be a lot of fun to see how this planting scheme comes together at the show and to see how the judges and public react to it. We can’t wait!

Over the coming weeks, as we build up to the show, we’ll post regular blogs here on our progress as the garden comes to life!



Tuesday 21 – Saturday 25 May 2019

8am – 8pm

8am- 5.30pm

London Gate
Royal Hospital Road
Royal Hospital Chelsea

For show information and tickets visit RHS Chelsea Flower Show

#PerennialLifelineGarden tweets