RNLI Garden at Chelsea Flower Show embodies the charity’s heritage and ethos

Lifeboats News Release

The RNLI Garden at next week’s (24-28 May) RHS Chelsea Flower Show has been designed by Chris Beardshaw to celebrate and embody the heritage, spirit and intent of the charity that has been saving lives for almost 200 years.

Artist's impresion of the RNLI Garden, showing the oak pavilion and pathway leading through dense planting


Chris Beardshaw’s design for the RNLI Garden.

Chris, thirteen-times RHS Gold Medal winning garden designer and plantsman, created the RNLI Garden as part of the new Project Giving Back initiative, which provides funding for gardens for good causes at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

The RNLI Garden marries historic influence and contemporary design cues, reflecting the forward-looking organisation that is the RNLI today. Chris has created a place of emotional quiet with an understated confidence, capturing a reassuring resilience and resoluteness which aims to embody the spirit and intent of the RNLI.

The design cleverly uses RNLI references throughout, including: Georgian neoclassical styling from the time of the RNLI’s establishment; materials - living and manufactured - used in early lifeboat construction; geological strata reminiscent of the coastal platforms of this island nation; sinuous lines traced from bow waves of modern lifeboats and subtle lantern lighting as a reminder of the warmth of a lifeboat homecoming.

Commenting, Chris said: ‘We are extremely proud to have been invited to be part of the launch of Project Giving Back at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2022. In addition, being asked to create a garden for the RNLI is a huge honour. As someone who has dived and sailed for much of my life, the RNLI is a charity very dear to me and this is a fantastic opportunity to provide a platform from which to highlight the importance and depth of their work.’

Jayne George, RNLI Fundraising, Marketing and Media Director, said: ‘It has been a privilege to see Chris’s design come to life and we are excited to welcome RHS Chelsea visitors to the garden. This is such a wonderful opportunity for us to raise awareness of our lifesaving charity while also highlighting the RNLI’s rich heritage and the incredible work of our dedicated volunteers.

‘We are so grateful to Project Giving Back for funding our RNLI Garden and helping us inspire a new generation of lifesavers. We hope it will also encourage gardeners everywhere to host a fundraising garden party or other event for the RNLI as part of our forthcoming RNLI Gardens campaign.’

RNLI Gardens is the RNLI’s new summer fundraising campaign that invites supporters to host a garden party, BBQ or afternoon tea in aid of the charity’s lifesavers. Help save lives this summer whilst raising a glass for our volunteers. Visit RNLI.org/GardenFundraiser to find out more.

For more information about the RNLI Garden at RHS Chelsea Flower Show visit: www.rnli.org/Chelsea

Media contacts

For further media information about the RNLI please contact Alison Levett: 07786 668912 E: Alison_[email protected] or Charlotte Cranny-Evans: 07393 763 780 or [email protected]

For further media information about Chris Beardshaw, please contact: Jane Southcott pr: 07787 527430 E: [email protected]

Picture captions

1. Chris Beardshaw’s design for the RNLI Garden. Credit @freehandlines

2. Chris Beardshaw meets Portishead RNLI volunteer Lifeboat Operations Manager, Dave Slack. Chris visited Portishead to speak to crew and gain inspiration for his design. Credit RNLI/Helen Lazenby

Notes to Editors

Sustainability & Garden Legacy

Sustainability is at the heart of the RNLI Garden. The skills, services and materials used to build the garden have been locally sourced where possible. The garden has been carefully planned and designed to allow all elements to be repurposed in a number of ways to ensure lasting benefits to the RNLI:

The Plant Material Following RHS Chelsea, the hundreds of plants used by Chris in the RNLI Garden will be transported to the RNLI College in Poole to be sold at a public plant sale on Friday 3 June at the RNLI College, West Quay Road, Poole, Dorset, BH15 1HZ from 10am to 4pm. For more information, visit: https://rnli.org/find-my-nearest/events/2022/june/rnli-chelsea-plant-sale

Whichford Pottery Bespoke Urns Guest judge and master potter on Channel 4’s Great Pottery Throw Down, Adam Keeling from Whichford Pottery, created the two large urns that are prominent within the final show garden. The urns will continue to showcase Whichford Pottery’s incredible work at the RNLI Support Centre.

Oak Pavilion and Purbeck Stone Paving The garden’s Oak Pavilion, designed by Chris Beardshaw and built by Dorset-based specialist fabricator, James Gray, together with its Purbeck stone paving, will be rehomed at award-winning park Sculpture by the Lakes at Pallington, Dorset. The relocated Georgian-inspired pavilion will provide a structure from which the RNLI can create displays to showcase their lifesaving work, helping to raise awareness as well as providing opportunities to donate and fundraise. The show garden’s topiary and hedging will also be used by Sculpture by the Lakes within their 26 acres of garden for visitors to enjoy.

Statement Trees The six trees in the RNLI Garden are to be relocated to Dorset as part of an exciting project, of which details will be announced following the Show.

Project Giving Back

Project Giving Back (PGB) is a unique grant-making scheme that provides funding for gardens for good causes at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. PGB was launched in May 2021 in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and its effect on UK charitable fundraising. It will fund gardens inspired by a range of good causes at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2022, 2023 and 2024. Find out more at www.givingback.org.uk

Chris Beardshaw

Renowned plantsman, designer and broadcaster Chris Beardshaw is a 13 times RHS gold medal winning designer who won Best in Show for his RHS Chelsea Garden in 2018. His plant filled Show Gardens are always popular with gardeners which has been reflected in him being awarded the BBC People’s Choice award on five occasions. Chris is involved with a wide range of private client garden designs, large scale public horticultural schemes and educational initiatives. His broadcasting career spans over 25 years and he can currently be heard as a regular panellist on Radio 4’s Gardeners’ Question. For further details on all of Chris’ latest projects, please visit: www.chrisbeardshaw.com

Chris Beardshaw meets Portishead RNLI volunteer Lifeboat Operations Manager, Dave Slack, standing in front of lifeboat. Chris visited Portishead to speak to crew and gain inspiration for his design.

RNLI/Helen Lazenby

Chris Beardshaw meets Portishead RNLI volunteer Lifeboat Operations Manager, Dave Slack. Chris visited Portishead to speak to crew and gain inspiration for his design.

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.