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Chelsea Flower Show

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We are extremely excited to be co-sponsoring the Magna Carta garden at the Chelsea Flower Show this year, which will be relocated within the hotel grounds after the show.

This year Chelsea Flower Show 2015 will welcome the Runnymede Surrey Magna Carta anniversary garden. Paying tribute to the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, the garden has been created by acclaimed designers Patricia Thirion and Janet Honour and is sponsored by Surrey County Council and the runnymede-on-thames hotel and spa, where the garden will be permanently installed after the show.

The garden is themed on the 1215 Magna Carta and the formal layout is evocative of gardens of the medieval period, featuring handmade wattle archs over turf benches, traditional roses and honeysuckle, wattle obelisks and raised beds. A custom-made fountain will take centre stage surrounded by bespoke heraldic pennants created by the renowned embroider Rhoda Nevins, who was part of the team that embroidered the Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding dress.

The garden’s symmetry will symbolize the law and order of the time and will feature a slice of yew tree trunk inscribed to relate to the Magna Carta, reminiscent of the ancient Ankerwycke Yew. The tablet will be showcased towards the front of the garden in a meadow-planted bed, remindful of the Runnymede meadows.  This is symbolic of the Ankerwycke Yew, said to be nearing 2,000 years old, which grows close to the site where the Magna Carta was sealed.

After the ‘Artisan Garden’ makes it final bow at Chelsea, it will return home, to the runnymede-on-thames hotel and spa, on the banks of the Thames. It will become a permanent installation in the hotel grounds and will be freely available for the general public and local residents to visit.

Sue Wolton, General Manager, the runnymede-on-thames, comments:

“We were genuinely excited when Patricia and Janet approached us with the opportunity of sponsoring the garden and are delighted that the Magna Carta garden will return home after the show. The Magna Carta is widely accepted as the first constitutional document that formed the basis of modern democracy. The significance of this historic event will be preserved by the presence of the garden within the hotel grounds which are sited in Runnymede.”

Today, the Runnymede meadows are owned by the National Trust and sit adjacent to the River Thames, near Old Windsor, the original settlement before the castle was re-built up river.


Passionate plant women, Patricia and Janet have given each other a unique insight into the garden traditions of their respective countries, combining the styles of Paris and the UK. In 2013 the co-designers were awarded a Gold medal for their ‘Herbert Smith Freehills garden for WaterAid’.  They have found the special challenges associated with Chelsea thrilling and are as pleased as ever to be involved with the show, this year will be their sixth year.

Patricia’s and Janet’s design business ‘A Touch of France Garden Design’ is based in Hertfordshire and covers all aspects of garden design.

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