Hospice's bee-friendly garden to open at Hampton Court Palace

An artist's impression of how the Cransley Hospice bee-friendly garden will look at Hampton Court Palace.
An artist's impression of how the Cransley Hospice bee-friendly garden will look at Hampton Court Palace.

A garden which will be re-located to Cransley Hospice in Kettering is going on show at Hampton Court Palace next Monday.

The contemporary wildlife-friendly ‘Urban Pollinator Garden‘, designed by Caitlin McLaughlin, will be on display at the Royal Horticultural Society's (RHS) Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival from Monday, July 1, where it could eventually be seen by more than 140,000 visitors.

Designer Caitlin McLaughlin at Cransley Hospice discussing the layout for the new garden in Kettering.

Designer Caitlin McLaughlin at Cransley Hospice discussing the layout for the new garden in Kettering.

After the festival finishes on Sunday, July 7, the garden will then be making a 95-mile trip to the hospice, so it can be enjoyed by patients and their families. Groundworks are due to start in Kettering on Monday, July 8, and a lorry carrying all the plants, trees and materials will follow on Wednesday, July 10. The following week will see the beginning of soft planting for the garden, carried out by a small group of volunteers.

An official launch party to open the new garden will take place at the hospice, in London Road, on Thursday, August 1.

The project is being sponsored by Harrington-based Warner's Distillery – the maker of Honeybee Gin – which is helping to fund the relocation of the garden to the hospice.

Jacqueline Cheung, marketing manager at Cransley Hospice, said: "We were so honoured to be contacted by Caitlin as the recipient of this breath-taking Urban Pollinator Garden.

"We have been following the progress of the build on-site at Hampton Court over the past week and the spectacular design is really starting to take shape.

"Having worked alongside Thrift Landscapes for many months now, it’s unbelievable to think that in just a few short weeks, the garden will be making its way back to Kettering for patients, families and staff members of Cransley Hospice to enjoy for years to come.

"We can’t thank Thrift Landscapes and Warner’s enough for supporting the relocation of the garden back to our hospice."

Caitlin, 29, has been at the palace this week building the garden ahead of a a special preview event taking place on Monday, July 1.

The bee-friendly garden is being designed by young Northampton designer Caitlin McLaughlin, a director and garden designer at Thrift Landscapes. Her debut showcase at the Hampton Court Palace event will include simple ideas for attracting pollinating insects to inspire city dwellers to create their own nature-friendly back gardens.

Designed to attract bees and other insects using practical features, the garden will offer a place for people to relax, connect with nature and surround themselves with pollinators, without the complexity of maintaining beehives themselves.

Honeycomb shapes will feature throughout, as well as a wall packed with twigs and branches. Hexagonal paving will be dotted with printed tiles to identify entrances to underground 'bumble nests' and a wall will also include innovative 'Bee Bricks', which visitors can replicate at home.

The garden has links to sponsors Warner’s, which runs conservation and sustainability projects across the country, including Operation Honeybee, a series of initiatives designed to fortify the UK's pollinator population.

Caitlin said: “Built by Conway Landscapes, this garden will represent the importance of pollinators, specifically bees, within our own gardens and the wider environment.

"Living in a city, it is sometimes easy to forget about wildlife and the role it plays within our ecosystem. This design allows people to have a contemporary garden that still caters for pollinators, providing them with food and nesting spaces. My aim is for it to have multiple take-home messages to allow other people to adapt or create in their own gardens.”

The planting scheme will feature colourful perennials, woven through different types of grass. Bee-friendly plants in purple, white and pink will be used, including Campanula ‘Hemelstraling’, Astrantia ‘Superstar White Giant’ and Cirsium rivulare ‘Atropurpureum’.

The Bee Bricks for the habitat wall are being supplied by Marshalls and hedging by Practicality Brown.

Caitlin is an award-winning designer who formerly worked at the Natural History Museum and Kew Gardens in plant sciences and conservation.

She realised her ambition to be a garden designer, forming Thrift Landscapes with her sister Tessa McLaughlin. In 2016 Caitlin received a Gold Medal for her Nature and Nurture show garden at RHS Tatton and the RHS Young Designer of the Year accolade. She was the youngest of the three finalists to win the award that year. Following this, she was approached by Hillier Nurseries to gain experience on their 2017 RHS Chelsea garden, including mentorship from designer Sarah Eberle.