Inspired by the clear dark skies and star constellations that can be seen from their home in the Brecon Beacons National Park, a star shaped cobblestone path is just one of the beautiful features that the Rich Brothers will be creating when they present Vital Earth: The Night Sky Garden on the Main Avenue at RHS Chelsea Flower Show in May this year.
Following the success of their Gold-medal winning Artisan garden in 2013, the Rich Brothers will be back at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show later this month with Vital Earth: The Night Sky Garden which has been inspired by the dark skies of the Brecon Beacons National Park – one of only five International Dark Sky Reserves in the world – where the brothers were raised.
Sponsored by Bord na Móna, Ireland’s leading environmentally friendly responsible utility supplier and peat-free compost brand Vital Earth, and supported by the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, Harry, 26 and David, 23 – the youngest ever designer of a Chelsea Show Garden – are hoping to create a very unique garden with their strongly structured design of steel, glass, natural stone, timber and naturalistic planting.
A star-shaped cobblestone path cuts through a series of curving stone walls – sourced from Llangors Quarry in the Brecon Beacons – which trace the shape of constellations. Two steel edged reflective pools suggest black holes, whilst boulders – also sourced from the National Park – are used to mirror fallen meteors and brass discs, cut into the powder coated steel boundary wall – handmade by local craftman Pete Downey Engineering – glow like constellations in a night sky. Naturalistic planting, dominated by white, with swirling tones of blues and oranges echo the path of the Milky Way and a grassy bowl and the roof of the nearby oak and glass rooftop studio, manufactured in Mid-Wales and marketed by Kestrel Oak, Brecon provide different spots for star gazing.
Harry said: “Of course most gardens are designed with light in mind – and that is no different for this garden. And in fact, in this garden the darkness is equally as important as the light. We have been very much inspired by the dark skies of Brecon Beacons National Park and we hope to capture the imagination of those who visit the garden. It’s a wonderful platform to raise awareness about light pollution but it’s also based on a sensory garden that we recently designed for autistic children. It offers a naturalistic, calm environment where children can learn about both the landscape around them and the wonders of the night sky and the garden will be relocated to Beechwood College in Cardiff after the show.”
Commenting on Bord na Móna’s support for the garden, Steve Harper, Head of Consumer UK said, “Harry and David are a young team with real talent who specialise in interpreting their native landscape, using environmentally kind materials and sympathetic planting. These are exactly the values that our peat-free brand Vital Earth seeks to espouse and if a brand like this can help designers like this to succeed at Chelsea yet again, then I will be delighted. I am confident that with Bord na Móna’s support, the Rich brothers and Vital Earth will again win hearts and minds at the premier gardening show.”
Chairman of Brecon Beacons National Park Authority Julie James said: “We are delighted to be supporting Harry and David at the Chelsea Flower Show this year. To realise that they have been inspired by our unique and protected landscape and dark skies is extremely humbling. We hope their design will capture the imagination of visitors to the show and our National Park. Our former Chairman, Cllr Eric Saxon was a great supporter of The RHS Chelsea Flower Show and National Parks so the fact that we can support the Rich Brothers in this small way makes this doubly heart-warming. We wish them the very best of luck.”
Vital Earth: The Night Sky Garden can be seen at the Chelsea Flower Show from 20 – 24 May. To find out more about the Brecon Beacons National Park Dark Skies Reserve, and how to plan a visit by day or night, visit www.breconbeacons.org/stargazing
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Harry Rich (26) and David Rich (23) – Rich Landscapes – were brought up in the foothills of the Brecon Beacons and have always been surrounded by nature. This has inspired the creation of Rich Landscapes; a family-run business, where our passion is to reconnect people with the natural surroundings; a connection, which in this modern day and era is so easily lost. We are both very passionate, not only for designing unique spaces but also creating them. There is something very satisfying about following a project from initial concepts to final completion. We are also very keen in using natural materials; the detail and texture of these materials really capture the essence of what we are trying to create. There is a raw honesty about using materials that are sourced locally and, as a consequence, farmed with a knowledge and understanding of the land.
Bord na Móna is Ireland’s leading environmentally responsible integrated utility provider. The company drives initiatives in green electricity, fuels, resource recovery, water and horticulture, where it leads the way in peat reduction through its ‘Contract with Nature’. In the UK, Bord na Móna trades its peat-free compost brand, Vital Earth, which has transformed the UK garden market with growing media made from recycled garden waste.
In 2013 Vital Earth worked with Rich Landscapes on its gold medal Chelsea garden, Un Garreg. With Bord na Móna’s support, the Rich brothers and Vital Earth will hope to again win the hearts and minds at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
Brecon Beacons National Park lies on the border between Mid Wales and South Wales and is a landscape that offers a legacy of unparalleled proportions. From spectacular mountain ranges, internationally renowned geology, waterfalls, market towns, bountiful wildlife, diverse recreational opportunities to the highest peak in southern Britain – Pen y Fan. It contains some of the most spectacular and distinctive upland formations in southern Britain and covers an area of 1347 sq km (520 sq miles). It was also awarded International Dark Sky Reserve status in 2013 – Wales’s first and only one of five destinations in the world to be granted the prestigious accolade.