Since 1988 Andy Sturgeon Landscape and Garden Design has been dedicated to creating dynamic external spaces for private, commercial, and international clients. Twice voted one of the top 10 garden designers in the UK and winner of numerous awards including 5 Gold Medals and Best in Show at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
The garden is inspired by stratified rock formations, huge burnt timber sculptures on a dramatic geological scale slice through woodland planting. First and foremost, this is a garden but it is also a sculpture in its own right and celebrates the ability and power of plants to colonise habitats in what is known as ‘ecological succession’.
Pioneer species like algae and lichen are the first to colonise harsh barren environments such as lava flows, newly quarried rock faces and sand dunes. Combined with wind and water, rock breaks down and soils form as the habitats are normalised allowing grasses, ferns, herbs and ultimately shrubs to grow. Within the garden the use of primitive plants like mosses, restios, ferns and equisetum are intended to acknowledge these early arrivals and to lend the garden an ancient quality. The shade that shrubs and ultimately trees provide is vital to the continued evolution of a habitat but eventually a ‘climax community’ is reached which then ceases to evolve further.
Secondary succession is then caused by a subsequent event. On a local scale this could be a tree falling or something more initially devastating such as a forest fire. This is acknowledged here by the woodland clearings and the intentional ambiguity of the burnt timber ‘rock’ formations which combine the concepts of both primary and secondary succession. These disruptive events create opportunity which plants seize upon and should be seen as positive occurrences. The increased light levels caused by the loss of a tree stimulate germination of the previously dormant seed bank in the soil. Fire can have powerful regenerative effects also causing seeds to germinate such as Epilboium which is known as ‘fireweed’ due to the way it rapidly colonised bomb sites in WWII. These ‘fire followers’ are typically annuals but can also include shrubs which shoot from the base of their stems.
Work is underway in preparation for the Chelsea Flower Show in May 2019. Inspired by rock formations witnessed on an Australian beach, huge burnt timber oak sculptures feature on a dramatic geological scale in this woodland setting.
The garden is a celebration of the regenerative power of plants and their ability to colonise and regenerate. The landscape is populated by ferns and grasses and primordial Equisetum and Restios giving the garden an ancient quality. Vibrant green foliage sits amongst the dark, brooding sculptures. Water pours from handcrafted spouts into a series of pools and streams trickling down through the garden alongside a staircase of vast English ironstone from the Great Tew estate in the Cotswolds.
The Chelsea Flower Show runs from 21-25 May 2019 and tickets are available now
Work in progress on the burnt timber oak sculptures
Hand selected ironstone blocks from the Great Tew Estate
Last weekend the team at Andy Sturgeon Design were lucky enough to go to Venice for the Biennale Architettura, where architects and designers showcase their new projects in pavilions across two impressive venues in the centre of the city. This year’s exhibition has been created by Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara (of Dublin based Grafton Architects), with the title Freespace, a caption which embodies ‘a generosity of spirit and a sense of humanity at the core of architecture’s agenda, focusing on the quality of space itself’.
The exhibition was mostly interactive, allowing you to walk through scaled models and sit in immersive environments. We were delighted to see the work of many practices we have collaborated with in the past, and many more that we hope to work within the future.
As a practice of garden designers and landscape architects, it was the element of making use of readily available resources such as light, air, and natural and man-made materials, (a theme that ran throughout the heart of the exhibition), that was truly inspirational.
WaterHarvest is an amazing charity which we have been supporting since June 2018, and enjoy keeping tabs on their exciting progress.
They are currently carrying out major work in the Thar Desert, Rajasthan, the most densely populated desert in the world, and the ninth largest. It’s known locally as ‘Marwar’ which means ‘land of death’. There is acute water scarcity and deep-rooted poverty. Women and girls spend a third of their time walking to fetch water, usually from contaminated sources, which is ‘head-loaded’ home – their lives and future opportunities are crushed, simply by lack of water. It’s impossible for girls to attend school as they have to help too.
To ensure families have enough drinking water, WaterHarvest has undertaken the task of building vast tanks to capture and store the precious monsoon rain that falls in the desert. Each tank costs £450, so support and funding are of the essence in order to complete the work.
With water available at home, women and girls are freed from the onerous task of daily water procurement and their health improves as the rainwater in the tanks is so much safer. Household income also improves as there is time to earn desperately needed money and best of all, girls are relinquished from chores and are able to attend school.
Over the winter and into spring work was carried out at Beningbrough Hall near York to implement one of the first major phases of the 10 year garden vision created by Andy Sturgeon Design, ‘The Pergola’ Garden.
‘The Pergola’ Garden opened to the garden officially on the 19th June creating a tranquil space offering dappled shade and sunny pockets.
The design focuses around a contemporary pergola structure inspired by the history of the site which appears to emerge from the existing brick wall like a lean to glass house frame. The pergola is made from air dried oak beams which support a centrepiece of white wisteria’s which will provide dappled shade to this otherwise sunny spot, a path of gravel and yorkstone winds its way beneath the pergola with small seating area to sit and relax.
The planting is combination of strong, bold evergreen hedging blocks and soft infill planting in a restrained colour palette to sets off the white flower and textured foliage of the wisteria.
You can watch a short video produced by the National Trust about the project via this link.
We are participating in the Skin Health Clinic Bus events this weekend to raise awareness to gardeners about melanoma. The events are taking place on Saturday 19th May atPolhill Garden Centre in Sevenoaks and Sunday 20th May at Hillier’s Garden Centre in Pevensey.
Visit Melanoma Fund and Watch Your Back! to get find out further information about the event or to book an appointment.
On Friday 6th April, 30 female members of the St. John’s Wood Square design team met on site in the Riding School for a group photo as part of the NAWIC’s “Image of Women in Construction” project.
The aim of the project is to capture the face of the women who are working in the British construction industry showing the diversity of women, ages, variety of professions, and roles as well as the audacity and strength of those women in order to inspire others to join the industry, showing the younger generation that construction can be an excellent career choice.
ASD were pleased to have representation within this group by Megan who was photographed alongside project team members from EPR Architects, Craigewan, Wilkinson Eyre, Squires and Partners, Lendlease and Hurley Palmer Flatt by the project photographer Morley von Steinburg
Further information about the Women in Construction Project can be found at: