RHS Garden Bridgewater wins European Garden Prize

RHS Garden Bridgewater has been awarded first place in the esteemed European Garden Prize, hot on the heels of its RIBA North West Building of the Year win in May for the architectural design of the Welcome Building.

RHS Bridgewater was shortlisted in the ‘Design or Concept of a Contemporary Park or Garden’ category alongside two others: La Pista 500 in Italy and Podzámecký Park in the Czech Republic. Previous UK winners of the award have included the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and the Crossrail Place Roof Garden.

The European Garden Awards are organised by the European Garden Heritage Network (EGHN), a collective of around 200 parks and gardens from 15 European countries, including RHS Garden Wisley in Surrey. Nearly 100 parks and gardens have been recognised since the awards began in 2010. In 2019, the RHS was awarded first prize in the special category ‘Europe’s Heritage of Gardens and Gardening’ for its commitment to inspiring everyone to grow through its gardens and education programmes.

RHS Director of Horticulture, Education and Communities Tim Upson, who gave a presentation during the awards ceremony last week at Schloss Dyck in Jüchen, Germany, said: “The European Garden Award is one of the most coveted titles a garden can earn, and we could not be more delighted that RHS Bridgewater has been named the winner this year against strong competition from other outstanding projects from across Europe.”

Head of RHS Bridgewater Richard Green added: “This is a wonderful tribute to the work of the incredibly talented team who realised a grand vision for our fifth RHS garden, and we are grateful to the jury for their recognition of this very special project.”

An international jury of respected names from the worlds of landscape design and gardening evaluated the entries on aspects including innovative implementation and management; urban development; sustainability; visitor and educational services or voluntary work; and high-quality restoration or modern design of a park or garden.

The masterplan for RHS Garden Bridgewater was designed by renowned landscape architect Tom Stuart-Smith, and during the garden’s construction from 2017 to 2021, it was the largest hands-on gardening project in Europe. Among the highlights are the restored 11-acre Weston Walled Garden featuring a number of spaces including the Paradise Garden, Kitchen Garden and Wellbeing Garden. Elsewhere, an authentic Chinese Streamside Garden links the historic Ellesmere Lake to Moon Bridge Water.

Further developments at RHS Bridgewater in the coming year will see the new Blue Peter Garden open in the autumn, the first trees planted in an arboretum and the continuation of plans for the Chinese Streamside Garden.

RHS Garden Bridgewater is made possible by Salford City Council and The Peel Group. Salford City Council invested £19 million into the project which will bring substantial economic and tourism benefits to the city, its communities and the north west region. The Peel Group are custodians of the former Worsley New Hall estate where the garden has been created.