RHS Gardens Get Set Ready to Grow in 2019
by RHS
December 31, 2018

• New Winter, Cool and Heather Gardens

• Work continues apace to create fifth garden

• New Welcome landscape at Wisley

The Royal Horticultural Society gardens are set for an exciting year in 2019, with a raft of new horticultural developments in the pipeline. They include a mix of gardens designed by skilled in-house teams as well as some of the best garden designers in the industry.

The new Winter Garden at RHS Garden Hyde Hall, Essex is now open. It celebrates the delights of winter, with its multitude of radiant stem colours, peeling barks, luminous leaf colours and dazzling berries. Coppiced willow sculpted into interesting shapes capture the imagination, and there is a vast array of winter interest, stark skeletal shapes and stunning silhouettes. The Garden also includes a trial of nearly 50 cultivars of Cornus, including the bright red stems of Cornus alba ‘Siberica’ and the rarer Cornus alba ‘Ruby’.

The Winter Garden was designed completely in-house by the garden team, led by Garden Manager Andrew Hellman. Andrew has a background in kinetic sculpture and the garden includes live sculptures made of willow, created afresh each year. It also includes a number of summer-flowering perennials to enjoy throughout the summer months which, come autumn, die back gracefully, meaning it is a garden to enjoy all year round.

This spring Hyde Hall will also see the planting of a new Heritage Orchard of 24 different Essex apple varieties. Varieties will include ‘D’Arcy Spice’ (probably most famous Essex apple), ‘Chelmsford Wonder’, ‘Maldon Wonder’ and ‘Braintree Seedling’. The Orchard will build on the success of the Heritage Orchard planted two years ago at RHS Garden Rosemoor, which has saved many cultivars of rare Devon apples from disappearing.

RHS Garden Wisley can boast a spectacular new visitor entrance from early May, with a new Welcome building and an avenue of cherry blossom leading visitors into the garden. New landscaping around the entrance has been designed by Christopher Bradley-Hole. Work will also begin on the three new gardens around the planned new Centre for Horticultural Science and Learning on the Hilltop. The Wildlife Garden and World Food designed by Ann-Marie Powell and Wellbeing Garden by Matt Keightley will open in spring 2020.

The Heather Garden at Wisley underwent a major replanting last year, and will be looking its flowering best by September. Heathers are now coming back into their own after suffering an undeserved reputation as being dated and unfashionable. Designed and laid out by Mark Tuson, curatorial team leader, the garden features heathers planted in mass ribbons to show off their diversity in colour and form, with contrasting companion planting such as Yuccas and globe artichokes. It includes the National Collection of Erica, Calluna and Daboecia, with over 950 different cultivars.

A new Cool Garden, designed by Chelsea gold medallist Jo Thompson, will open at RHS Garden Rosemoor, North Devon, in summer 2019. The Garden will provide a calming contrast to the fiery colours of the existing Hot Garden, with blue, white and pale yellow colours complemented by grey foliage. A water feature will include rills running through the garden to a teardrop shaped pond.

At RHS Garden Harlow Carr the team is working to craft a perfect woodland garden, with greater diversity of plants and wildlife, creating year-round beauty and colour in this more tranquil and less frequented part of the 58-acre garden. They have also been working to open up their streamside garden, the longest in the country, opening up the planting to reveal its natural beauty, with new low-level pathways and crossing points.

At RHS Garden Bridgewater work continues apace to develop the 154 acre garden in time for its public opening in 2020. The garden team is growing in size, with further recruitment planned for 2019. Much of the initial clearance work of invasive plants such as rhododendron ponticum has been completed, with significant help from volunteers. Designs for a Kitchen Garden and Learning Garden within the historic 11-acre Walled Garden have been announced, and planting will begin next year. More garden design announcements, including for a Wellbeing Garden, will follow in 2019.

The RHS is fundraising to create RHS Garden Bridgewater and we need to raise £5.5m to create this new resource for the North West. For more information see

  • New Eden
  • Kids Garden
  • Plant a Row Grow a Row