RHS Tatton Park swung into action this week, and with something of a bang for us. It's a show that's made a name for emphasizing new talent, and this year's no different, with Elliott Hood (26), one of three finalists in this year's RHS Young Landscape Contractor, and Ben Poulter (25), a finalist in the RHS Young Planting Designer category, being awarded the winning titles for their Chaos to Coastline garden.
Their brief was to create a functional social space for clients who want a refuge from city living, in a sunny, south-west facing garden, with free-draining soil and exposure to wind.
For the paving, had there been no financial constraints, Elliott would have chosen Portland limestone, with its close association with coastal areas. However, he found our Faro Porcelain substituted extremely well. Fashioned to emulate the sought-after limestone from Portugal, as Elliott explains, “It was the closest colour match we could get to Portland stone within our budget.” The gentle colour variations and “sandblasted” finish bring to mind the variations in texture that arise from the fossils found in Portland.
Like all Porcelain, Faro gives itself to crisp lines, which appear here, not only in the precisely laid paving slabs but also in the clad verticals that give a rhythm to the beds. “The white of the stone sets off the corten steel; the contrast brings it to life,” adds Elliott. The crisp edges also offer a foil to the free-flowing planting which includes Agapanthus, Lavender and Elaeagnus.
Mixing bespoke paving sizes, cut to fit the space required, with the standard larger format (1194 x 596mm) Faro Porcelain slabs, Elliott has created a wide path to balance the beds on either side, which are mulched with gravel, bringing to mind a sandy beach. Joints are a minimal 2mm – something that Porcelain, with its ultra-precisely cut edges, makes easier to achieve than Natural Stone – and are pointed with Ardex Spring Jasmine to match, so creating a flowing path that takes you into the heart of the garden.
The awards for RHS Young Landscape Contractor (supported by BALI) and RHS Young Planting Designer are undeniably two of the most inspirational in the RHS show calendar, and it's good to see up-and-coming talent getting the exposure it deserves. We're proud to be associated with it, and especially to feature in the work of the winners this year.
Congratulations to Elliott and Ben, and don't forget to keep an eye on them. We'll be seeing a lot more of them in future!