Wedgwood celebrates its 260th anniversary in 2019, and as part of the celebrations will present a show garden at RHS Chelsea Flower Show, 21st - 25th May 2019.
The Wedgwood Garden, designed by multi award-winning UK designer, Jo Thompson, reflects the entrepreneurial, innovative and creative spirit of Josiah Wedgwood (1730 – 1795).
Framed with spectacular soaring pavilions, the garden brings Wedgwood's rich 260-year history to life by setting its foundations in Etruria, the 18th century Staffordshire village that Josiah created for his workers.
Wedgwood has close links with the RHS – John Wedgwood, son of Josiah, first came up with the idea of the RHS, suggesting a horticultural society in a letter to William Forsyth, George III’s head gardener.
Christian Bachler, Wedgwood Senior Vice President, said: “We are extremely proud to be marking our 260th year with this magnificent garden. Jo has spent a considerable length of time exploring the many strands of our rich history and will be bringing them together with an original arrangement of space and dynamic planting. The plans look inspiring, and we are excited to see the final result.”
Inspiration for Jo’s design was drawn from a trip to the Wedgwood museum in Staffordshire. Here she discovered not only a fascinating and extensive ceramics collection but also learnt of Wedgwood’s pioneering creation of Etruria. After absorbing such a rich seam of ideas, she drew on her own experience of living in Rome, which later provided the spark that ignited her career in garden design.
Etruria, built in 1769, was known as ‘the factory in the garden’ with plentiful green space alongside a canal. The Wedgwood Garden references this with a watercourse flowing through multiple levels, unifying and delineating differing areas.
A trickling stream will connect key elements and echo the canals and watercourses of Staffordshire that were so fundamental to Wedgwood’s production and transformation to an international industry.
Standing proudly above the garden and beautifully framing the space, interlinked arched pavilions echo the foundations of the past while combining a fresh new approach. The pavilions will create ever-changing framed views that provide different perspectives of the creative landscape.
The variety of angles will be brought together by repeated use of materials in the garden, with subtly contrasting surfaces and textures. They will be used alongside delicate decorative metalwork and artfully placed sculptures that will highlight key junctions and motifs.
The planting scheme is both dynamic and soft with mass plantings that are both textural and structural. The buoyant Ferula communis and cloud-like Valeriana pyrenaica will juxtapose against dramatic specimen trees such as Betula nigra and the stately Metasequoia glyptostroboides. An incredibly rare specimen, Ferula assa-foetida, that has taken organic gardening expert Jekka McVicar six years to grow, will also feature.
Jo Thompson commented: “The opportunity to create a garden that celebrates 260 years of Wedgwood and champions the innovative and creative spirit of Josiah Wedgwood is utterly compelling.
“There’s a certain irresistible magic and nostalgia associated with such an incredible past. I welcome the opportunity to apply a modern interpretation to the garden and to draw visitors’ attention to Wedgwood’s pioneering and positive force in corporate responsibility.
“It’s been a joy to create a second garden for Wedgwood, in a landmark year, and honour its past whilst looking to its future.”