Design David Neale Sponsor Silent Pool Gin Build Neale Richards Garden Design Theme Contemporary yet relaxing city haven for a professional couple to unwind in
“ONCE YOU build a show garden you get the bug for it – a perverse sense of enjoyment and excitement, and when we won a gold medal at the 2010 Hampton Court Palace show we decided we’d design our own Chelsea garden one day – and this is it.
“I’d always thought that Silent Pool Distillery, near Guildford, would make a great theme for a show garden. For one thing it has beautiful brand colours – the bottles are a rich teal with 24 botanics embossed in copper round the sides. For another, the distillery is located close to the Silent Pool itself – an historic, spring-fed lake at the bottom of the North Downs. Legend has it a young woodcutter’s daughter was drowned here by a stranger on horseback – said to be King John in disguise. So the brand has a very powerful narrative too.
“We’re using UK-sourced materials, such as weathered-oak decking from Norbury Park, Purbeck dry-stone walling and Portland stone paving. We’ve chosen 5.5m (18ft) tall Carpinus betulus (hornbeam) with rootballs each weighing a tonne. The overall effect is of a leafy glade above a pool where dappled shade instantly cools the air.
“Copper accents drift through the blue and white colour scheme with swathes of Iris fulva and coppery fern Dryopteris erythrosora set against blue irises, amsonia, delphiniums, Anchusa azurea ‘Dropmore’, aquilegia ‘Hensol Harebell’, Brunnera macrophylla ‘Alexanders Great’, geraniums ‘Brookside’ and ‘Johnson’s Blue’ and Allium caeruleum.
“We’re planting botanicals too – irises (orris root is used in gin), Angelica archangelica for structure and height, chamomile for ground cover and white lavender in containers. Swathes of anthriscus softens the whole appearance, and grasses provide a semi-prairie effect around the boardwalk area.
“Getting the infinity pool 100% level with just the right flow of water is our biggest challenge. The pool is made from London Stone DesignClad porcelain tiles for a Corten-steel effect, with a rill around the perimeter and a twisted citrus peel sculpture in hammered copper, by Giles Rayner, at the centre.”