Richard teamed up with The World of Beatrix Potter™ Attraction from Bowness on Windermere in Cumbria, and Hooksgreen Herbs from Staffordshire, to design and construct ‘The Peter Rabbit™ Herb Garden’.
The garden occupied a challenging island plot, so the design had to be creative to be able to be viewed from all four sides. Richard’s idea was to recreate different scenes from ‘The Tale of Peter Rabbit’ on every side of the garden.
The centrepiece of the design is a Victorian lean-to greenhouse, with scented geraniums in terracotta pots, old garden tools and a model of Peter Rabbit hiding in a watering can.
In front of the greenhouse the borders are planted with a wide range of herbs and cottage garden perennials, all set off by the red brick walls.
Mr.McGregor’s vegetable patch was also represented, with rows of beetroot, lettuces, cabbages and broad beans. True to the story, the gooseberry bushes were covered with a net – the one that Peter Rabbit got caught up in, and lost his blue jacket, later to be made into a scarecrow by Mr.McGregor!
The most photographed part of the garden though was Peter Rabbit in the radish patch, surrounded by lettuces, french beans, nasturtiums and calendulas, with a backdrop of lakeland slate walls. On the other side of the pathway an area of garden has been neglected and so has long grass, dandelions, foxgloves and nettles whilst an old rusty wheelbarrow rests against the slate wall. The navelwort plants used in the display actually came from Milntown. Two of the Milntown Gardeners Adam and Juan “rescued” a whole batch of seedlings that were self sown on the Milntown greenhouse roof and Flybe allowed Richard to transport the plants free of charge to England where he grew them into gold medal winning plants!.
Visitors to the show continually remarked on how true the depictions were to Beatrix Potters own artwork in her story books, and they loved the tiny details of snails on the walls and a blackbird’s nest in the hedgerow.
The Royal Horticultural Society’s judging panel was suitably impressed and awarded Richard the highest accolade of a Gold Medal.
Richard said…. “It has been a lot of hard work over many months, designing, planning, and growing plants to be in perfect condition for the show, but to be judged by the highest horticultural authority in the UK and be awarded a gold is fantastic!”
“Being at Chelsea is always great and being here as an exhibitor is even better, It’s an inspirational experience, and I’ll certainly be bringing back new ideas and new plants for Milntown Gardens.”
Richard will also be bringing back some ‘Peter Rabbit’ radish seed to be sown in the newly redesigned kitchen garden at Milntown. It is actually an old variety called ‘Long Scarlet’, that is no longer commercially available but which Richard helps to conserve.
This is the second time that Richard has achieved Gold. The last time was in 2005 when he co-designed a garden with iconic 80’s pop star Kim Wilde. On that occasion both he and Kim made a clean sweep of all possible awards.
Kim visited Richards garden on Monday and was completely bowled over by his Peter Rabbit Herb Garden design, Kim said “ having worked with Richard before I sort of knew the high standards that he would achieve, however this garden completely surpassed my expectations, it is wonderful!”
The Milntown Gardens are open daily (excluding Tuesdays) until the end of October. Admission fees are £3.00 adult, £2.50 OAP, £1.00 child, £6.00 family and 10% discount for parties over 10.
Milntown Garden Tours with Richard Lucas will take place on 17th July, 21st August and 25th September. Booking is essential as places are limited to 12 per tour. Please call 812321 to book.
For information about the Milntown please visit www.milntown.org or call 01624 812321.
“Richard Lucas is one if the most inspired plants men and designers of his generation.”…….Kim Wilde
“The Peter Rabbit Herb Garden is a master class in perfection, it’s as good as it ever gets at Chelsea!” …….Kim Wilde