Lakes garden strikes gold

Cumbria’s romantic landscape has proven an excellent talisman for 80s pop singer Kim Wilde and co-designer Richard Lucas as they received a prestigious Gold medal at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show this week. The pair, who met to design a garden for the Holker Hall Garden Festival three years ago, were also awarded Best in Show for their entry: The Cumbrian Fellside Garden, in the Courtyard Garden category. Upon receiving news of the win, Ms Wilde said gaining the Royal Horticultural Society gold medal was every bit as thrilling as having a hit single.
“We’re absolutely delighted with this achievement. We visit the show every year so it’s a dream come true to win a gold our first time exhibiting here, Richard and I are simply ecstatic,” she added.
The garden was created using Cumbrian green slate from the Honister Slate Mine, dry stone walling and a living willow arbour, created by Endmoor couple Steve Fuller and Simone Siegan, of Willowpool Designs. Bob Sweet, RHS head of shows development, said the judges were delighted with the garden.
“They felt that attention to detail and diligent research had created an exquisite garden.”
But there is no rest for the Kids in America star, who will be strengthening her link with South Lakeland even further next week when she spends a day at Holker Hall Garden Festival on Saturday, June 4. Having displayed at the premium event for the past three years, she will take time out to enjoy the festival, held at the Cark-in-Cartmel home of Lord and Lady Cavendish, and to sign copies of her new book Gardening with Children.
Congratulations were extended to both the singer and Mr Lucas, head gardener at the Lakeside hotel, at Newby Bridge, from Eric Robson, chairman of Cumbria Tourist Board. Mr Robson added that The Cumbrian Fellside Garden would inspire garden lovers everywhere to consider a trip to the region. “I am absolutely delighted for Kim and Richard as I know they spent a good deal of time creating a perfect Cumbrian Fellside Garden. This puts the county on the gardening map and sends out a clear message to visitors that Cumbria, the Lake District, is a superb place to enjoy majestic, colourful gardens.”
The judges at Chelsea responded with a silver gilt medal for another of the region’s garden designers stoneworker Andy Loudon, of Coniston, with The Philosophical Garden. Using plants grown and supplied for the event at Beetham Nurseries, near Milnthorpe, Mr Loudon, a stone walling master craftsman, created a woodland effect for his garden, also in The Courtyard Garden category, to complement his bespoke stonework in the centre of the garden. Designed as a quiet sanctuary, abundant in springtime woodland planting, The Philosophical Garden had at its heart a 1.2 metre diameter stone sphere made out of hundreds of pieces of Burlington Elterwater Green dry walling stone. It sat opposite a negative image of itself, recessed into a stone wall constructed of the same material.
Such was the intricacy involved in creating the stone sphere, it took Mr Loudon 12 days to complete.