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RHS Chelsea 2019: Hayward’s High Maintenance Garden

RHS Chelsea 2019: Hayward’s High Maintenance Garden


Sue Hayward’s design is a relaxed, low-cost, wildlife-friendly garden


Having already created two award-winning Artisan Gardens for the Motor Neurone Disease (MND) Association, Pre-Registered SGD Member Sue Hayward returns to Chelsea with a third design for the charity. Her link to the association came about through Martin Anderson MBE, one of its founder members, who contacted her via Nottingham Trent University, where she was lecturing when he was looking to sponsor the first Chelsea garden back in 2008.

Her 2019 design presents a loved space that has been created over many years, but which the owner, suffering from ill health, is now unable to tend. Nature is gradually taking over, yet the garden retains a natural relaxed beauty and atmosphere, and also attracts more wildlife.

The deck and garage were made from reclaimed, recycled and found materials, showing what can be created on a limited budget with skill and imagination; and a water feature, made from a collection of galvanised water tanks, was designed with a deliberately engineered look to represent the working life of the garden’s owner. The focal point of the design is a British handbuilt vintage car, which was the owner’s other passion but now sits abandoned.

Planting soften the structural features and includes wildlife-friendly species, such as Sambucus nigra, Syringa vulgaris, Betula pendula, Hedera helix and Digitalis purpurea ‘Alba’. The plant colour palette is limited to white, green and red, and Hayward has also included native weeds from various volunteers’ gardens to instil a wild effect.

“I wanted to create a romantic look, rather than an unkempt, messy, weedy wilderness. It was a challenge to make sure they create a ‘designed’ chaos for the aesthetics required.”

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