About our garden

About our garden

Nurture and Crocus, both based in Windlesham were established by the highly successful Fane brothers, Peter, and Mark, respectively. The two have always shared a love for all things plants and sustainability and have departed on a journey to create a sustainable show garden for Chelsea 2023.

The garden has been designed by one of the most prominent garden designers in Britain, Sarah Price. Sarah is trained in fine art and has a lifelong love of wild and natural environments. She has won numerous awards, including Gold Medals at Chelsea in 2012 and 2018, and is a contributing editor for Gardens Illustrated. The garden will be constructed out of sustainable building materials and will emphasize the importance of craftsmanship in how it is constructed.

Four years ago Sarah spent many hours immersed in the garden of Cedric Morris’ Benton End. Benton End is world renowned as being one of the first modern gardens of naturalistic design, with Cedric Morris breeding and planting at least 90 different Iris varieties. The Demure fritillaries and Anemone pavonina caught her eye as it scattered the long grass like an entrance and tracing. She describes this landscape as a ‘medieval mead’ and it reminded her of her love and admiration of Cedric Morris’ planting.

This visit also triggered memories of the Benton Iris display that Sarah Cook had designed within the Chelsea Pavilion in 2015. These two experiences solidified her love for the Irises that are so graceful and subtle, lending themselves to a more ‘natural-looking’ design.

These two experiences cultivated the idea to use the creativity and expressiveness from Benton End and reimagine and reopen the garden in a place like Chelsea. Sarah aims to educate the Chelsea public on low-carbon gardening and challenge the wasteful consumption often associated with garden design and construction by repurposing and reusing materials.

Cedric became famous for both breeding and painting bearded iris, growing around 1000 new seedlings each year, and producing at least 90 named varieties.

The garden design will combine hard landscaping textures reminiscent of the house at Benton End, together with a planting palette that will appear wild but will incorporate the tone of the Iris and other plants that were a feature of Cedric’s work and garden. Climbers supported by reclaimed timber and cordage frame views into and through the garden. Saplings, grasses, and characterful trees hint at semi-abandonment, while the watercolor-like colors (plums, mauves, olive yellow, creamy browns) will create this distinctive palette. The distinctive palette of pink, blue and yellow seen in two of Cedric Morris’ paintings (Cotyledon and Eggs, and The Eggs) will be reflected in the garden to offset the complex tones of Morris’ Benton Iris and his grey poppies.

The sixteenth-century surroundings at Benton End, constructed using traditional techniques, have provided inspiration for the contemporary use of locally sourced, sustainable materials. Rich-coloured, textured, straw-cob walls will be featured as a nod to the original pigmented plaster and bricks that the house at Benton End is made from, with the ‘wild-looking’ planting paying tribute to the rambling garden where Cedric’s own plants were cultivated.

The design explores a fresh approach to garden-making that places emphasis on craft to add aesthetic, environmental, and social value to a garden. The design incorporates waste-based materials (old brick, ash, glass, recycled plastic, oyster shell, hen shell, feathers, and wood) in a surprising way to showcase the endless possibilities of creating beautiful and sustainable creations from waste and craftsmanship.

After Morris’ death, the garden at Benton End was dug up and distributed far and wide to various gardeners.  A nice touch post-show is that many of the plants, materials and herbaceous grasses will find a new home at Benton End, whether it be in the house or the garden – which almost signifies the return of the ‘lost’ plants.

In much the same way that Cedric educated and inspired generations after him, it is our aim, together with one of the most notable designers in the country, Sarah Price, to inspire the future of sustainable gardening, and raise awareness of its potential.

How can I grow and care for irises at home?

Gardeners that have a sunny wall with plenty of bare ground at its foot, have ideal conditions for growing Iris germanica (tall bearded iris), all of which need to bask openly in heat. When planting make sure the Iris rhizomes sit on top of the soil facing south, to bake in the sun and ensure next year’s flowering. Given these conditions they are extremely tough, colonies can become over-congested, so dividing rhizomes every five years is ideal, preferable in June or July when they’re semi-dormant after setting seed.

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