We have been waiting for the opportunity to visit the newest garden created by the RHS, Bridgewater near Manchester. The RHS had been looking for a new garden to take on and develop somewhere in the midlands, but after a few years of searching they took on this site in the north. Our hopes of having a midland RHS garden once again faded away, meaning we still have to travel to visit any of their gardens.
Nevertheless we looked forward to going to see it in its early stages, especially as the designers involved were particular favourites, Tom stuart-Smith and the young Hugo Bugg.
The entrance building was both beautiful and unassuming, long low ad clad in wood that would fade to a silver grey in time. The container gardens at the main entrance were most welcoming.
Once we had passed through the building we began exploring the newly created borders following some herbaceous plantings before turning into the community learning areas full of gardens looked after people from the locality with expert help from RHS gardeners. As we made our way there we passed a beautifully sown new lwn area dotted with buttons of yew.
We were fascinated by this propellor shaped turf bench, a design hard to create and no doubt to maintain too!
We left the education community area wandered through what would become an orchard and arrived at a large stone built house badly blackened by pollution from the past. The planting around it included perennials and wildflower meadows.
We then wandered into the formal areas within the old walled gardens which must have been so dramatic in their day. The first we reached was the kitchen garden designed by Hugo Bugg and Charlotte Harris, both winners of RHS Young Designer Awards. The underlying structure is influenced by the areas industrial heritage especially its canal system.
Through a gap in the restored brick walls we entered the Prairie Garden designed by Tom Stuart-Smith, one of our best garden designers.
That will be the starting point for Part Two.