01 May 2018

Award-Winning Hadlow Alumnus Design a Stunning New Show Garden – VTB Capital Garden ‘Spirit of Cornwall’- for RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018

By Philip Orrell

VTB Garden 2

Award-winning garden designer and Hadlow College alumnus Stuart Charles Towner has created a distinctive new show garden, VTB Capital Garden ‘Spirit of Cornwall’, which will be situated on the Main Avenue at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018. The garden is a unique creative collaboration, bringing together garden designers, architects, a composer, musicians and a sculptor; all commissioned by VTB Capital, a leading international bank.

Stuart, who studied BA (Hons) Garden Design at Hadlow College, previously co-designed ‘Green Seam’, a garden which went on to win Gold and Best in Show at the 2015 RHS Hampton Court Flower Show. Green Seam is planned to be rebuilt by the Hadlow Group alongside its development of the Kent Mining Heritage Museum within the Visitor Centre at the former Betteshanger Colliery, which the garden was designed to celebrate.

‘Spirit of Cornwall’ is a multi-sensory experience: inspired by the work of renowned British sculptor Barbara Hepworth; and music composed by Leo Geyer – specially commissioned by the Hepworth Estate and Tate St Ives to celebrate the 40th anniversary of her garden.

Contemporary in style, the garden features a palette of subtropical and temperate plants, illustrating the unique microclimates found throughout Cornwall. Concrete and steel form the only hard landscaping elements in the garden.

The metalwork that runs throughout the garden is a physical manifestation of the music, taken from the sound wave pattern, with its peak expressed by the garden pavilion, a space for composing and performing designed by award-winning architectural practice, Studio Evans Lane. The pavilion will be used during the show for live performances of the music by Constella OperaBallet, alongside a dancer performing a piece of ballet choreographed alongside the music.

Water features echo the sea views from Hepworth’s garden. The continuous circulation of water reinforces the musical motif. Sculptures by Sheila Vollmer nestle amongst the planting, drawing inspiration from the rhythms of the garden design, and other sources such as Russian Constructivism.

Following the Chelsea Flower Show, the garden will be relocated to the College’s Broadview Gardens. It will be transplanted in a different format, forming part of the College’s eight-acre Broadview Gardens – a unique garden, open to the public and originally maintained as a teaching resource for students.

Hadlow College’s Garden Design BA and HND programmes hold ‘Society of Garden Designers Educator Status’ with the BA also boasting Landscape Institute accreditation. Both programmes have a strong design, innovation & creativity focus compared to more traditional courses offered elsewhere - and students work in groups in year 2 of both programmes to plan and present projects to real clients.

VTB Garden 1

Media Contact: Philip Orrell, Hadlow Group PR and Media Manager, Tel: 01732 372794,