Doctor wins Gold at Chelsea

Rebecca Wallersteiner pours accolades on the dazzling ‘The Seedlip Garden’ by Dr Catherine MacDonald – a celebration of Modern and Apothecary – a Gold Medal Winner at The Chelsea Flower Show 2018

One special garden that particularly stood out for me at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower show was Dr Catherine MacDonald’s ‘The Seedlip Garden’ which has won a coveted Gold Medal in the Space to Grow Garden category.

One special garden that particularly stood out for me at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower show was Dr Catherine MacDonald’s ‘The Seedlip Garden’ which has won a coveted Gold Medal in the Space to Grow Garden category.

Designed by Dr Catherine MacDonald and built by Landform Consultants Ltd, the beautifully presented garden exemplified how edible plants can be grown in your outside space while also adding to its visual appeal.

Apart from being visually pleasing, scientists at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel recently discovered that the humble pea has anti-inflammatory properties which can help ward off Alzheimer’s and some cancers. Peas are also a very good source of vitamin K, manganese, copper, vitamin C, phosphorus, niacin and zinc.

Unusual varieties of sugar snaps and snow peas featured in the garden, an homage to the late American pea breeder, Dr Calvin Lamborn, who loved all peas from the humble garden pea, Pisum sativum, to more exotic species.
Celebrating all things peas, the garden contained unusual varieties of sugar snaps, snow peas, garden peas, pea shingle, pea mulch, and features a pea pod design. Edible pea shoots decorated the roof of the pea green ‘Peavillion’, while the circular elements of the garden path mirrored the shape of the pea. The planting palette, forms. Colour and multi-sensory elements of Dr MacDonald’s garden all relate to the pea.

The planting, forms, colours and multi-sensory elements within this conceptual installation were all relevant to the pea, producing a contemporary and educational compendium in praise of one of the nation’s favourite vegetables.

Highlights in the garden included beautiful mirrored silver stepping stones, featuring a pea pod design embedded into the path alongside split pea shingle and pea mulch.

Highlights in the garden included beautiful mirrored silver stepping stones, featuring a pea pod design embedded into the path alongside split pea shingle and pea mulch.

A garden path, formed of circular elements, representing the form of the pea, lead to the elevated Peavilion, a ‘shrine’ housing a collection of articles relevant to the pea. All species of plant used in the garden were from the pea family Fabaceae. Peas & Love!

The garden celebrated two extraordinary men from three different centuries; Dr Calvin Lamborn (1933-2017) who crossed a rogue garden pea with a snow pea. Ten years later and many crosses later the sugar snap pea was born in Idaho. Equally passionate about peas, Gregor Mendel (1822-1884), the father of modern genetics was a monk who discovered the basic principles of heredity through experiments on more than 28,000 pea plants over seven years. Many they Rest in Peas.

A favourite spring vegetable peas are now in the peak of their season. During May they are at their tastiest and healthiest. Packed with vitamins and minerals they provide the carotenoid phytonutrients lutein and zeaxanthin, which promote vision and eye health.
As the name suggests, the garden was sponsored by Seedlip, creator of distilled non-alcoholic botanical spirits. In the 1600’s apothecaries used copper still to make non-alcoholic remedies. This alchemy was documented in a book called ‘The Art of Distillation’ published in 1651.
A contemporary and educational space – the garden was designed to show how edible plants can be grown beautifully in gardens at home.

A seasoned Flower Show exhibitor, Dr MacDonald’s gardens have been admired by thousands of visitors and won many prizes. Last year she designed a stunning ‘Apothecary Garden’ for Chelsea which won Gold. the Given the ravishing beauty and perfectionist detail of Dr Catherine MacDonald’s latest Garden for RHS Chelsea, it comes as little surprise to discover that the judges awarded her a Gold Medal once again.

 

Rebecca Wallersteiner

Rebecca Wallersteiner

Rebecca Wallersteiner is a health and arts journalist, who writes for The Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday, NetDoctor, Telegraph, The Times, Traveller and
The Oldie magazines. She also works for the NHS and is the Hippocratic Post's roving reporter.
Rebecca Wallersteiner

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