The Great Northern Garden Build episode 3: With the build complete, the garden finally opened its gates to the public in May 2021. With unique access, this is a behind-the-scenes look at the garden with the team responsible for the 154-acre site, one of the biggest attractions in the north west of England.
The gardeners, arborists and horticultural apprentices, along with the army of volunteers who keep the garden on top form, all share their experiences, and Carol Klein, who was born and brought up just down the road, also pays a special visit and meets the team.
The Great Northern Garden Build episode 3
RHS Garden Bridgewater will be the Royal Horticultural Society’s fifth public display garden. It is being created at Worsley in Salford, Greater Manchester, England, and will open in May 2021.
Bridgewater is being created in 156 acres of the former Worsley New Hall estate, with the Bridgewater Canal forming the southern boundary. It will be the RHS’s first new garden since it acquired Harlow Carr in North Yorkshire in 2001, and is one of Europe’s largest gardening projects.
Landscape architect Tom Stuart-Smith has created the overall plan, in which the walled kitchen garden will be restored, historic features such as the tree-lined Garden Approach recreated, and the lost terraces reworked. Marcus Chilton-Jones has been appointed the first curator of the garden.
Royal Horticultural Society
The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), founded in 1804 as the Horticultural Society of London, is the UK’s leading gardening charity.
The RHS promotes horticulture through its four, soon to be five, gardens at Wisley (Surrey), Hyde Hall (Essex), Harlow Carr (Yorkshire), Rosemoor (Devon) and Bridgewater (Greater Manchester); flower shows including the Chelsea Flower Show, Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, Tatton Park Flower Show and Cardiff Flower Show; community gardening schemes; Britain in Bloom and a vast educational programme. It also supports training for professional and amateur gardeners. The current president is Keith Weed and the current director general is Sue Biggs CBE.
The creation of a British horticultural society was suggested by John Wedgwood (son of Josiah Wedgwood) in 1800. His aims were fairly modest: he wanted to hold regular meetings, allowing the society’s members the opportunity to present papers on their horticultural activities and discoveries, to encourage discussion of them, and to publish the results. The society would also award prizes for gardening achievements.
Wedgwood discussed the idea with his friends, but it was four years before the first meeting, of seven men, took place, on 7 March 1804 at Hatchards bookshop in Piccadilly, London. Wedgwood was chairman; also present were William Townsend Aiton (successor to his father, William Aiton, as Superintendent of Kew Gardens), Sir Joseph Banks (President of the Royal Society), James Dickson (a nurseryman), William Forsyth (Superintendent of the gardens of St. James’s Palace and Kensington Palace), Charles Francis Greville (a Lord of the Admiralty) and Richard Anthony Salisbury, who became the Secretary of the new society.