Skip Header Navigation

About RBC > Media Newsroom > News Releases > RBC New Wild Garden, RHS Chelsea's First Full-Scale Rain Garden, to Champion Arts and Crafts Ideal

RBC New Wild Garden, RHS Chelsea's First Full-Scale Rain Garden, to Champion Arts and Crafts Ideal

London, 4 January 2011 —  Royal Bank of Canada today announced its partnership with the Landscape Agency to present the "RBC New Wild Garden" at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2011. Led by award-winning landscape designer Nigel Dunnett, the RBC New Wild Garden will be RHS Chelsea's first full-scale "rain garden", designed to capture and use every single drop of rain that falls on it. The same team also collaborated on the recently-opened RBC Rain Garden at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) London Wetland Centre as part of the RBC Blue Water Project.

The RBC New Wild Garden brings together two major themes in British gardening in the last 100 years: the Arts and Crafts ideal - celebrating the artistic and painterly use of plants, combined with high quality and traditional craftsmanship, local materials and strong sense of place - and the wild garden - celebrating the beauty of nature, and the naturalistic use of garden plants.

Both themes were introduced and championed by the Victorian horticulturist William Robinson, a pioneer of modern gardening, who popularised the herbaceous border and the use of perennials in gardens, and who was also an early nature-conservationist and an advocate of the principles of sustainable gardening. The RBC New Wild Garden takes Robinson's ideas - developed in rural and rustic settings - and imagines how they would be applied now, in a contemporary urban setting, using modern recycled materials, knowledge and technology. A major feature of the garden will be an office space - built from a former shipping container with a green roof and habitat walls.

The rain garden element is in keeping with the goals of the RBC Blue Water Project, a wide-ranging, 10-year global commitment to help protect the world's most precious natural resource: fresh water. Since 2007, RBC has pledged over $27 million to more than 350 not-for-profit organizations worldwide that protect watersheds or ensure access to clean drinking water. The RBC New Wild Garden supports the Project's aims to raise awareness of the importance of efficient water management wherever RBC operates around the globe.

Commenting on the RBC New Wild Garden, Lynn Patterson, Director of Corporate Responsibility at RBC, said: "Nigel Dunnett's team at the Landscape Agency has conceived a design that is hugely innovative and immensely relevant to 21st-century city living. The sustainability message, which is at the heart of the RBC New Wild Garden's design, aligns perfectly with our ongoing commitment to water preservation through our RBC Blue Water Project. This is an exciting initiative and we look forward to working together with the Landscape Agency to help both raise awareness of the importance of water management and promote the use of recycled materials."

Nigel Dunnett, said: "William Robinson was truly a pioneer of sustainable gardening whose theories were a century ahead of his time. I hope that the RBC New Wild Garden will prompt a renewed interest in his ideas, particularly his championing of nature-like planting, local materials and sense of place, as articulated in his seminal book 'The Wild Garden'."

- 30 -

Media Enquiries:

Paul French +44 (0) 207 002 2013

Notes to editors

About The RBC New Wild Garden
The RBC New Wild Garden takes William Robinson's ideas - developed in rural and rustic settings - and imagines how they would be applied now, in a contemporary urban setting, using modern materials and the knowledge and technology we have available to us now within a strong sustainability ethic.

  • Art and Craft The materials in the garden are surprising and innovative - re-used, recycled and found objects and materials, crafted and shaped into new uses. The garden building is the ultimate example of recycling: a converted shipping container transformed into a living structure. The drystone walls are made not only of natural stone, but urban waste materials and objects, giving a very different sense of place. The main structures in the garden are bespoke and artist-designed. Like the famous Arts and Crafts gardens, there is a strong underlying geometry and order to the garden, contrasting with rich, informal and loose planting.
  • Art and Water The whole garden is a 'rain garden', designed to capture and use every single drop of rain that falls on it. From the living roof on the building, through to the collecting pools and the soakaway planting, the garden brings water to life, making the garden water-cycle visible, and retaining water that would otherwise be lost.
  • Art and Nature The entire garden is a wildlife habitat - not just the diverse and dynamic planting, but the walls, paving and building too. The planting is naturalistic and naturalised, with garden plants growing intimately with wildflowers in ecological settings of meadow, woodland and wetland, combined with colour-graded stands of perennials: a glimpse of new possibilities for both private and public places.

About Nigel Dunnett and the Landscape Agency
Dr Nigel Dunnett is a Reader in Urban Horticulture, and Director of the Green Roof Centre, University of Sheffield. He is one of the UK´s foremost planting designers and originated the concept of `Pictorial Meadows´. His first Chelsea Flower Show garden in 2009 won an RHS Silver-Gilt Medal. The Landscape Agency is one of the leading consultancies in the restoration, conservation and future development of historic landscapes in Britain.

About the RBC Blue Water Project
The RBC Blue Water Project is an innovative, wide-ranging, 10-year global commitment to help protect the world's most precious natural resource: fresh water. It includes a $50 million philanthropic commitment to organizations that protect watersheds and ensure access to clean drinking water. The RBC Blue Water Project also promotes responsible water use through awareness programs and supports programs that encourage businesses to develop and commercialize innovative solutions to the water issues facing the world. Since 2007, RBC has pledged over $27 million to more than 350 not-for-profit organizations worldwide that protect watersheds or ensure access to clean drinking water. For further information, please visit http://bluewater.rbc.com/.

About RBC
Royal Bank of Canada (RY on TSX and NYSE) and its subsidiaries operate under the master brand name RBC. We are Canada's largest bank as measured by assets and market capitalization, and among the largest banks in the world, based on market capitalization. We are one of North America's leading diversified financial services companies, and provide personal and commercial banking, wealth management services, insurance, corporate and investment banking and transaction processing services on a global basis. We employ approximately 79,000 full- and part-time employees who serve close to 18 million personal, business, public sector and institutional clients through offices in Canada, the U.S. and 50 other countries. For more information, please visit rbc.com.