New Kitchen Garden

Harris Bugg Studio has been appointed to design the new Kitchen Garden at RHS Garden Bridgewater. Set within the historic walls of the original Victorian Kitchen Garden, the design references the history of the surrounding landscape, while the horticultural vision combines edible planting with practical, traditional and new ideas to inspire visitors to grow their own at home.
The design abstracts part of the route of the Bridgewater Canal, situated to the south of the site, as the bones of the navigation through the garden. Often described as England’s first canal and a model for those that followed across the country, the Canal revolutionised industry and transportation in the area. Overlaid on the navigational design are the abstracted field boundaries of the area from the same period. These form the bed layouts and smaller pathways through the larger character planting areas. These allow visitors of all ages and mobility levels to become immersed in the planting of the garden, as well as allowing access for maintenance.
Within the new garden, four distinct spaces will be created, each with an individual character and learning experience: the Permaculture Garden; the Classic Fruit and Vegetable Garden; the Ornamental Productive Garden; and the Walls, against which fruit trees will be trained in a variety of forms to celebrate the very best of horticultural training techniques.
“The RHS challenged us to re-vision this space as a world class ornamental kitchen garden for the 21st century. Our aim is to create a garden that resonates with its rich and important historic past,“ while being packed with horticultural inspiration for visitors,” said Charlotte Harris. “This garden will be memorable on many different levels, with plenty of take-home ideas. Food is the umbilicus that connects us all to growing, so we also want to explore how visitors can try out many of the ideas whatever the size of their own outside space.”
The horticultural vision for the garden is to inspire visitors to re-imagine how they experience productive growing. Evoking the spirit of Victorian walled kitchen gardens by demonstrating a wide range of plants for a purpose – fruit and vegetables, medicines (both human and veterinary), herbs, disinfectants and pesticides, perfumes, dyes and more – the garden will also explore more unusual species and growing techniques. It will showcase companion planting and wildlife-friendly plants throughout the garden to attract pollinators and natural predators.
“RHS Garden Bridgewater is an incredible legacy for not just the RHS, but the whole of the North West region and we feel enormously honoured to be part of this project,” said Hugo Bugg. ”We’re enjoying the development of the construction and horticultural detailing process now, but like any garden, the joy of this space is that it will change and evolve over time. We see this as just the beginning of a long-term relationship between us and RHS Garden Bridgewater.”
Marcus Chilton-Jones, Curator, RHS Garden Bridgewater commented: “Charlotte Harris and Hugo Bugg are pioneering design talents of their generation, and I could not be more delighted their innovative plan for the Kitchen Garden will be made real. Their ideas have truly captured the spirit of RHS Garden Bridgewater in reflecting the wonderful history and unique identity of this area, while creating an important, forward-looking source of knowledge and inspiration for gardeners across the North West. The 11-acre Walled Garden is the jewel in the crown at RHS Garden Bridgewater. Charlotte and Hugo’s Kitchen Garden sits at the heart of this, which also includes our wellbeing garden, community teaching allotments and the Paradise Garden, designed by Tom Stuart-Smith.”

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