Japanese-style garden wins top prize at Chelsea Flower Show

21 May 2024, 20:04

Guests view the Forest Bathing Garden, winner of the RHS Chelsea Best in Show, designed by first- time competitor Ula Maria (Victoria Jones/PA)
RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2024. Picture: PA

The secluded garden follows the ancient Japanese principle of shinrin-yoku, or forest-bathing.

A Japanese-inspired forest garden designed for people suffering from muscle wastage has won the Best Show Garden at the Chelsea Flower Show.

Visitors can immerse themselves in a secluded garden with the occasional burst of colour that follows the ancient Japanese principle of shinrin-yoku – which means forest-bathing.

The garden, sponsored by Muscular Dystrophy UK, was designed by Ula Maria – a London-based landscape designer who grew up in Lithuania.

Ula Maria poses in her Forest Bathing Garden, at the RHS Chelsea Flower
Ula Maria poses in her Forest Bathing Garden, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show (Victoria Jones/PA)

She described the garden as a place of “solace and reflection” for those affected by muscular dystrophy – a hereditary condition that causes the muscles to gradually weaken.

The garden will be relocated to a place that benefits those who suffer from the condition when the flower show ends on Saturday.

The best construction award was won by London and Devon-based Matthew Childs Design – whose Terrence Higgins Trust Bridge to 2030 Garden is intended to resemble a rejuvenated quarry landscape.

The garden features a slate stepping stone which acts as a bridge across a pool of water to demonstrate the charity’s aim of no new HIV cases by 2030.

RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2024
Guests shelter under umbrellas as it rains during the RHS Chelsea Flower Show on Tuesday (Victoria Jones/PA)

Its designers said the garden is inspired by the rejuvenation of redundant slate mines in North Wales by ecologists.

The best ecotherapy garden was won by Tom Bannister – a landscape designer who studied garden design at Kew Gardens.

Mr Bannister’s garden looks to imitate a small London courtyard by featuring a Thames-yellow brick wall covered with plants to demonstrate people’s “innate attraction to nature”.

A yellow umbrella stands in contrast to a purple flower display
A yellow umbrella stands in contrast to a purple flower display (Victoria Jones/PA)

Other winners included the Burma Skincare Initiative Spirit of Partnership Garden for the Best Sanctuary Garden and the Size of Wales Garden for the Best All About Plants Garden.

The Chelsea Flower Show is run by the Royal Horticultural Society – the UK’s leading gardening charity.

On Monday, the King and Queen Camilla visited the show after the RHS named Charles as patron the week before.

The event showcases new garden designs and exuberant floral displays.

It will close on Saturday May 25.

By Press Association