WGC 100 Centenary Garden

Sowing Seeds for Chelsea – Welwyn Hatfield Times – 1st August 2018

WGC Centenary project volunteers are hoping for Chelsea Flower Show glory with their prestigious £600,000 project.


WGC centenary project volunteers are hoping for Chelsea Flower show glory with their prestigious £600,000 project.

As a way of marking the town’s centenary in 2020, the WGC Centenary Foundation (WFGCCF) is set to enter a garden at the world famous RHS Chelsea Flower Show during the anniversary year.

The plan is then to return the garden to the town, where it can continue to be enjoyed.

The WGCCF RHS Chelsea 2020 Project Team has been working hard behind the scenes to organise the entry and Heather Appleton of Appleton & Co Design has been chosen to design the ‘Centenary Garden.’

Appleton & Co was chosen from a shortlist of four design teams, selected from over 80 competition entries.

Heather, who has won multiple gold medals at RHS shows and is based in North Yorkshire, said: “Opportunities to design and deliver a Main Avenue show garden for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show are very rare and the WGCCF should be applauded from the rooftops for their time and energy in organising the centenary competition.

‘The centenary of WGC and the story of Sir Ebenezer Howard and his indefatigable passion for garden cities struck a chord with us. Although research turned many of our preconceived ideas completely on their head, there were also a few surprises which we hope we’ve managed to encapsulate in the garden design.”

WGCCF RHS Chelsea 2020 Project volunteer Caroline Baynes told the Welwyn Hatfield Times; “Heather thought about what could enhance the town. I hope the community will get behind the Centenary Garden and all the centenary initiatives. The success of the centenary will be that the community love the garden.”

Trina Golland, who is also part of the team, added: “The designers who entered our competition were blown away by how lovely the town is. We want to relocate the garden to WGC so everyone can enjoy it and it can become a legacy. But we have to keep the design a secret until the autumn before the flower show. It’s a terribly exciting project to be involved with. There’s lots to do and it’s not just about making plans for Chelsea, it’s also about relocation as well.”

Other volunteer members of the FHS Chelsea 2020 team are Fiona Robinson, Jan North, Ann Aldridge, Caroline Roberts and Angela Eserin.

David Green, chairman of the judging panel to find a garden designer said: “All the entries in the final judging phase were of a very high standard.”

“Ultimately, we settled on a scheme which will catch the eye at RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2020 and then successfully make the transfer to its new home in WGC. Warmest congratulations to Appleton & Co Design for an imaginative plan which will take root in its final location.”

The competition, which launched in January 2017, was organized in conjunction with the Society of Garden Designers (SGD) and was open to both members and non-members of the Society.

Sarah Morgan, chairman of the SGD, said: “This was a fantastic initiative between the SGD and WGCCF providing an opportunity to celebrate the inextricably linked disciplines of landscape design and forward thinking town development.

“I look forward to seeing the garden built at RHS Chelsea in 2020.”

The eight strong judging panel included Hilary Thomas, former Head of School of Garden Design at Capel Manor College, Andrew Wilson FSGD of the London College of Garden Design and garden designer, horticulturalist and past SGD chairman Philippa O’Brien MSGD.

The panel, which also included two local residents to represent the community, was chaired by David Green CB QC, Master of The Worshipful Company of Gardeners.

The final judging day was held at Hatfield House, home of Lady Salisbury, who is Patron of the WGCCF RHS Chelsea 2020 project.

Lady Salisbury said: “It is very exciting that the WGC Centenary Garden competition attracted the interest of so many talented garden designers. Not only well-established professionals, but also gifted young designers. I am delighted that the winning design will be brought back to the town where it will be enjoyed by all and the prevailing spirit of Ebenezer Howard’s vision of ‘the marriage of town and country’ will live on.”

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Meet the Centenary Garden Team

Ann Aldridge - Part of the Centenary Garden Team

Ann Aldridge

Photo of Caroline Baynes, Board Member

Caroline Baynes

Angela Eserin - Part of the Centenary Garden Team

Angela Eserin

Trina Golland - Part of the Centenary Garden Team

Trina Golland

Jan North - Part of the Centenary Garden Team

Jan North

Caroline Roberts - Part of the Centenary Garden Team

Caroline Roberts

Fiona Robinson - Part of the Centenary Garden Team

Fiona Robinson

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The Foundation can accept no responsibility for the organisation or regulation of any satellite events arranged to mark the centenary of Welwyn Garden City. This includes but is not limited to public liability insurance, health and safety issues (including risk assessments, Performance Licenses and safeguarding of children or vulnerable adults), transport, hiring of facilities, and any costs associated. The use of the Foundation name and logo does not infer any specific oversight or involvement of the Foundation unless stated.”