RHS Appoints Two New Designers To Take Forward RHS Vision

  • Tom Stuart-Smith to be the master planner and designer for the new 156-acre RHS Garden Bridgewater
  • Christopher Bradley-Hole will take forward the existing master plan for RHS Garden Wisley 

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) is announcing today its plans to work with two of the world’s best landscape architects, Tom Stuart-Smith and Christopher Bradley-Hole, to take forward its exciting horticultural plans for the new RHS Garden Bridgewater in Salford and its flagship RHS Garden Wisley in Surrey.

Following the announcement of the Society’s fifth garden, RHS Garden Bridgewater, last month, the RHS has moved swiftly to appoint a world-class landscape architect to deliver the master plan for the project. Tom Stuart-Smith has been appointed to create the overall master plan for the 156-acre garden, which will bring back to life the lost historic grounds at Worsley New Hall, Salford.

At the same time, internationally renowned landscape architect Christopher Bradley-Hole has been appointed to develop the existing master plan for RHS Garden Wisley, taking key aspects of the plan to the next conceptual stage, and to design the new front-of- house gardens including those around the much-loved Arts and Crafts-style Laboratory.

RHS Director General, Sue Biggs, says:  “I am delighted that these two hugely influential and innovative landscape architects will take forward such significant elements of our RHS Vision. With Tom and Christopher on board I am sure these two gardenswill surprise and delight the millions of garden lovers who will visit them.”

RHS Garden Bridgewater is planned to open in 2019 as part of the RHS wider 10-year £160 million investment programme to achieve its Vision to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place. Tom Stuart-Smith’s master plan will set out the overall vision for the garden, assessing its current condition and outlining the conceptual approach for its future.

The garden will be a result of collaboration between the owners of the historic estate, Peel Land and Property, Salford City Council and the RHS. Horticultural highlights will include the restoration of the 10-acre walled kitchen garden, one of the largest in the UK; developing historic features such as the tree-lined avenue and reinterpreting the famous Nesfield Terraces, which sit between the lake and the site of the lost Worsley New Hall. 

Tom Stuart-Smith says: “I have known the amazing site that is to become RHS Garden Bridgewater for some time and it is really remarkable. It is a great honour and a huge challenge to be able to contribute to this very exciting project. There is amazing potential here to make something innovative, relevant and distinctly different.”

The latest site master plan for RHS Garden Wisley was completed by architects Feilden Clegg Bradley at the start of this year, with conceptual design work by Dan Pearson Studios. Christopher Bradley-Hole has been appointed to design the new visitor hub and welcome area, to provide an inspiring arrival experience for a world-class visitor destination. He will also further develop the horticultural master plan, including for the garden’s Hilltop area, which will housea new horticultural science and educational centre.

Christopher Bradley-Hole says: “The new entrance and centre for science represent a new beginning for RHS Garden Wisley, and an opportunity to bring it into sharper focus. For more than a century Wisley has epitomised gardening possibilities and drawn gardeners through its unique breadth of display. Now is the chance to renew its context. Step by step through spatial clarity and crafting of detail we can slowly unfold a rich, enjoyable and engaging visitor experience.” 

Visits to the garden have grown over the last 10 years from 734,000 to more than one million a year. The Hilltop area at RHS Garden Wisley will form the UK’s first dedicated scientific centre of excellence in horticultural taxonomy, plant health and horticultural science. The improved visitor entrance will include exhibition space, an expanded plant centre, gift and book shop, and dedicated space for specialist UK nurseries to promote their plant diversity and expertise. The much-loved Arts and Crafts-Style Laboratory building will also be restored and revealed in a setting suitable for its heritage status.