See a Chelsea Flower Show garden in Hampshire

Hardy’s walk-through, Festival Garden, sponsored by Candide, would have been their largest ever display at RHS Chelsea at 160 sq. meters which is ¾ the size of a Main Avenue Show Garden. Rosy Hardy and her team created the Festival Garden at the nursery, to the same exacting RHS Judged standards they’d have produced for Chelsea.

The garden was created to provide a sense of well being for all those who sit in it. The planting features many hundreds of the nursery’s stunning collection of herbaceous perennials and shrubs. The plants were selected to attract pollinators of all kinds and the rills provide water for insects and birds, while providing reflections of the surrounding plants and trees.

It was officially opened by garden designer Adam Frost on 17 May.

All Hardy’s plants are grown in 100% peat-free media, using predominantly biological controls at their large 13-acre nursery. 

The key focal point of the exhibit is a bespoke, architectural wooden entrance structure and large cured seating area. Hardy’s wanted to highlight British craftsmanship within the design and commissioned London based craftsman, Object Atelier, to design and build the features using stunning English Chestnut wood.

The bow-like, sculptural construction came from an idea Rosy had of an upturned wreck of a Viking long ship which she had seen while diving in Norway. The dramatic, arching, wooden ribs provide a welcoming entrance, while offering differing vistas through into the garden to view Rosy’s signature ‘right-plant-right-place’ style.

The garden features separate spaces of naturalistic plant communities that reflect various garden conditions, from damp shade through to hot, dry, sunny borders, highlighting that pollinating plants can found in the shade as well as sun.

Plants include Alchemilla sericata ‘Gold Strike’, Centaurea montana ‘Purple Heart’, Digitalis purpurea ‘Sutton’s Apricot’, Geum ‘Totally Tangerine’, Hosta ‘Cherry Berry’, Iris ‘Tropic Night’ , Melittis melissophyllum Alba, Phlox divaricata ‘White Perfume’, Trollius ‘Dancing Flame’ and Zizia aurea.

See it yourself

For visitors who would like to see the beauty of the Hardy’s Festival Garden in person, there’s an opportunity to book a relaxed, socially distanced time slot to visit the nursery from 18 May into June. Tickets are bookable via All proceeds will be donated to Hampshire children’s charity, Naomi House & Jacksplace to benefit life limited and life threatened children and young adults.

Evolving space

After June, Hardy’s will adapt the display to provide a permanent, wildflower, well-being garden, so visitors to the nursery can sit and enjoy the space for many years to come.

View gallery

Take a look at our photos of the garden.