Heather Appleton winner of the RHS Flower show competition.

Winner of Garden City Competition announced

The Welwyn Garden City Centenary Foundation (WGCCF) has chosen Heather Appleton of Appleton & Co Design as the winner in a competition to design a Centenary Garden which will have its debut at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2020 and then return to the town for all to enjoy.

Appleton & Co was chosen from a shortlist of four design teams selected from over 80 competition entries. The shortlisted design teams included Mazullo + Russell Landscape Design, Richard Riddell Garden & Landscape Design and Williams & Towner Studio.

David Green, Chair of the Judging Panel, commented: “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”.

Heather Appleton, who has won multiple gold medals at RHS shows and whose gardens have twice been named ‘best in show’ said: “Opportunities to design and deliver a Main Avenue show garden for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show are very rare and the Welwyn Garden City Centenary Foundation should be applauded from the rooftops for their time and energy in organising the centenary competition, it was a breath of fresh air”.

Of the design competition Heather went on to say: “The Centenary of Welwyn Garden City 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”

The competition, which launched in January 2017, was organised in conjunction with the Society of Garden Designers (SGD) and was open to both members and non members of the Society. Sarah Morgan. Chair 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. Congratulations to Appleton & Co Design and to all the SGD members who participated in the competition.”

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, horticulturist and past SGD Chair 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 WGC RHS Chelsea 2020 project. Lady Salisbury said: “It is very exciting that the Welwyn Garden City 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”.

The Centenary Garden is one of many planned events to celebrate 100 years of Welwyn Garden City and its innovative idea of healthy living. More information on the Foundation and the Centenary Celebrations can be found on this website.


For further information, please contact Suzanne Hind PR|Marketing Consultants

Suzanne Hind: [email protected] / 07813 208 168
Theresa Osen: [email protected] / 07931 335 930


Caroline Baynes – Project Manager WGC / RHS Chelsea 2020
[email protected] / 07985 015 445


About Welwyn Garden City (WGC)

Welwyn Garden City (WGC) is the world’s second Garden City and was founded by Ebenezer Howard in 1920 as a role model for lower-density urban development. Preceded by Letchworth in 1903 the two Hertfordshire towns are models of sustainable development. Designed by architect Louis de Soissons, Welwyn Garden City aimed to provide the perfect blend of city and nature as an alternative to the overcrowded insanitary conditions of nineteenth century London. Characterised by neo-Georgian buildings, elegant boulevards and generous open spaces, it formed the blueprint for Howard’s visionary Garden City Movement, the icon of modern town design which Britain continues to have a proud association with today.

About The WGC Centenary Celebrations

2020 will mark 100 years since Welwyn Garden City was founded. To celebrate, the Welwyn Garden City Centenary Foundation has been established to help devise and coordinate a programme of commemorative events. Following a public consultation, 14 signature events will be organised covering sports, the arts, culture and community. The Welwyn Garden City Centenary Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2020 will be a centrepiece of the celebrations, relocating to the town after the show to provide a lasting legacy for future generations.

About Appleton & Co Design

A multi-award winning design practice that have been designing RHS Show Gardens for over 10 years. Winner of numerous medals, including three Gold Medals at RHS, their gardens have twice been named ‘Best in Show’. Making their RHS Chelsea debut in 2011 in the Urban Gardens category. The Welwyn Garden City Centenary Garden will be her first Main Avenue Show Garden at RHS Chelsea.

The Judging Panel for the WGC Centenary Garden Competition

  • David Green CB QC (Chair); Master, The Worshipful Company of Gardeners
  • Philippa O’Brien MSGD; Garden Designer and horticultural journalist
  • Andrew Wilson FSGD; Director, London College of Garden Design. Garden Designer who trained as landscape architect. Lecturer, author and former judge for the RHS specialising in show gardens
  • Julie Dowbiggin; National Gardening Centre (NGC) & Plant Sales Manager at Capel Manor; Member Chartered Institute of Horticulture. Member of Worshipful Company of Gardeners. Exhibitor at Chelsea; manages volunteer/ apprentice programme of garden maintenance with experience of garden relocation.
  • Hilary Thomas; Former Head of School of Garden Design at Capel Manor College and author of ‘The Complete Planting Design Course’. Currently teaches garden and planting design online for MyGardenSchool at Learning With Experts
  • Ann Aldridge; Curator of Terminal 5 Art Gallery, Heathrow Airport and Project team member
  • Fiona Robinson; Project team member who will represent community view
  • Trina Golland; Project team member who will represent community view

Read the actual PDF News Release here:

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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

WELWYN GARDEN CITY CENTENARY FOUNDATION LTD. 51 Valley Road, Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, AL8 7DH

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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.”