With great excitement, I can announce that I've been asked to design the BBC North West Community Garden at RHS Tatton this year. Showcasing a design that embodies the horticultural diversity of community-based gardens here in the North West. These community gardens bring people from all walks of life together. Showing how green spaces can help connect us in growing our own food, improving our mental health in green spaces, socialising with the wider community and helping encourage wildlife-friendly spaces. Let's take a closer look at the design!

This show garden is split into different zones to represent the diverse eclectic mix of community gardens here in the North West. I’ve designed this garden around the theme of diversity and accessibility. With a number of zones to represent them.

  • Grow your own in urban spaces
  • Community Orchard & Wild Flowers for wildlife
  • Community learning and social space
Lee Burkhills 2021 Show Garden Community Garden Render
The BBC Community Garden designed by Lee Burkhill at RHS Tatton 2021

Garden Ninja designing at RHS Tatton 2021

It’s a huge honor to be asked to design a show garden again for the BBC. This year’s theme of community gardening could not be closer to my heart. If you’ve followed my work you will know how passionate I am about encouraging new gardeners to start greening up their spaces. This community garden is inspired by diverse groups of gardeners of all abilities.

Lee Burkhills show garden design by hand

With the design I want it not only to look gorgeous but to feel truly accessible which is quite tricky for a show garden. I’m using all reclaimed materials and providing small space solutions that people can then replicate at home. I want this garden to be a garden for everyone no matter what budget or experience. I’m really hoping the design, planting and choice of materials allow me to achieve this!

What is the BBC Community Garden Based on?

BBC North West Tonight visited five very different local community gardening groups; The Wonky Garden in Cheshire, Green Heart Den in Cumbria, Liverpool Credit Union Garden, Great Harwood Allotments near Blackburn and Harrop Fold High School in Salford. Each group fed ideas into the final garden design highlighting what they believe are important elements to have in a community garden; from growing cut flowers and fruit and vegetables to have a space to socialise outside with other members of the community.   

BBC Community garden sketch

Where is the BBC Community Garden Going after Tatton?

After the show, the plants and materials will go back to the RHS who will be donating them to Wharton and Cleggs Lane Church and Community Centre Garden in Little Hulton, one of the many local community gardening groups which is supported by the RHS Community Gardening team in the North West.

A raised bed with a seat built in by Lee Burkhill

Plant List BBC Community Garden

The plant list for show gardens is always one of the most exciting bits! Here is the provisional list, subject to change until the garden is planted.

Coloured vegetables in a drawing by Lee Burkhill
  • Achillea Coronation Gold
  • Achillea Terracotta
  • Agastache
  • Alchemilla mollis
  • Brunnera macrophylla Jack Frost 
  • Calamagrostis Karl Foerster
  • Dryopteris erythrosora
  • Erigeron karvinskianus ‘Profusion’
  • Geranium ‘Blushing Turtle’
  • Geranium ‘Foundling’s Friend’
  • Geranium ‘Mavis Simpson’ 
  • Geranium ‘Orkney Cherry’ 
  • Geranium ‘Rozanne’
  • Geum ‘Scarlet Tempress’
  • Geum ‘Tequila Sunrise’
  • Innula helenium
  • Helenium ‘Moerheim Beauty’ 
  • Helenium ‘The Bishop’ 
  • Helenium ‘Waldtraut’
  • Helichrysum italicum (Curry Plant)
  • Knautia macedonica
  • Luzula nivea
  • Monarda didyma ‘Fireball’
  • Monarda didyma ‘Prairie Night’
  • Nastrutum
  • Nepeta ‘six hills giant’
  • Panicum virg. ‘Prairie Sky’
  • Pennisetum Shogun
  • Penstemon ‘Garnet’
  • Rudbeckia ‘Henry Eilers’ 
  • Sanguisorba officinalis
  • Salvia ‘Caradonna’
  • Thymus citriodorus Aureus 
  • Thymus Doone Valley
  • Thymus serphyllum Pink Chintz 
  • Verbena bonariensis
  • Phystostegia
  • Heuchers (wall planter)

Veg, herbs and edibles

  • Amaranthus tricolor ‘Green Giant’
  • Blackberry thornless evergreen
  • Tayberry / Autumn Raspberry
  • Tomatoes
  • Courgettes
  • Chard
  • Kale (Rainbow)
  • Squash
  • Peas
  • Beans
  • Sage
  • Malva
  • Fennel
  • Chives
  • Basil
  • Borage
  • Strawberries

Trees & Shrubs

  • Prunus spinosa
  • Malus ‘Everest’

Who is supporting the BBC Community Garden?

The following companies and local craftspeople are supporting the garden by supplying their products or services, some at a discounted rate to ensure that the garden can reach its full potential. Please visit them if you want to take parts of the garden and replicate them for yourselves!

A close up of Lee Burkhills drawing

Timber & Fittings for the Reclaimed Carpentry:

Graham Leece: The Door Company NW Ltd.

Sherman & Young

North Hire & Sales

Paving & Gravel:

CED Stone

Plants & Trees:

Bernards Nurseries

Majestic Trees

Peat Free Compost:

Dalefoot Composts

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