Chelsea 18: The Warner Edwards Garden by Savill & Bridge
The design duo returns with an Artisan Garden about gin botanicals
Pre-Registered SGD Members Kate Savill and Tamara Bridge are teaming up for a second time at Chelsea – they worked together last year on the ‘The Jo Whiley Scent Garden’, which is where they first met the team from their now sponsor Warner Edwards, who were distilling a spirit live for the first time in the history of the show.
The designers’ 2018 garden is inspired by the Northamptonshire landscape surrounding the Warner Edwards distillery and the plants used to flavour the gins. “As garden designers, we loved Warner Edwards’ passion for gardening, the countryside and nature, and together we felt the synergies were perfect for a collaboration,” says Bridge.
The top fields of Falls Farm, were the distillery is located, are a scheduled monument recognised by English Heritage, and were once the terraced gardens of a medieval manor house. “We incorporated a similar ‘fall’ into the design of the garden’s entrance and the planting is inspired by the farm's botanical gardens and hedgerows,” explains Savill. “We also showcase many of the plants used to create the natural flavours in Warner Edwards' gins, including Sambucus nigra, Rheum rhabarbarum, Angelica archangelica and Melissa officinalis, and each element of the garden is carefully planned to encourage visitors to relax and socialise.”
The village of Harrington itself, where Warner Edwards is based, is said to be built on ‘rock and water’ and the boulders and stream that flows through the garden echo these features. A bee bole set into old stone walling reflects the farm's beehive, and two copper seats, inspired by distillation stills, offer the perfect place to sit and enjoy a G&T after a long day.
The design duo first met at RHS Tatton Park when they competed together in the Young Designer of the Year competition in 2015. Both won Gold medals – Bridge scooped the title – and they became firm friends. They are already planning more show gardens and occasionally work together on private gardens too. “The best thing about having someone who you have worked so closely with is getting an honest opinion on your own work,” says Savill. “We are always calling each other up to chat through our current designs.”