Semple Begg celebrate 10th anniversary with a touch of Dior & RHS Chelsea garden relocation in Scotland

Designers Susan Begg and Nicola Semple, based in Scotland and Switzerland celebrate their 10th anniversary, relocating their RHS Chelsea garden and prestigious Dior Cruise ’25 at Drummond Castle.

Garden designers Semple Begg

The long-time friends, have just completed the planting design for the Dior Cruise 2025 Show at Drummond Castle in the heart of Perthshire which involved the temporary planting of nearly 10,000 plants within the Listed gardens and grounds with the design pitched to echo the drama and cultural significance of creative director, Maria Grazia Chiuri’s collection.

The design duo, described the project as a career highlight, Susan Begg of Semple Begg said: “Working for Dior, being part of the multi-talented team of artisans and creatives that helped Maria Grazia bring her creative to vision to Drummond Castle was incredible. She’s a legend and it’s the first Dior show in Scotland since 1955. People all around the world are watching, so you bring everything you’ve got. You live and breathe the project, every plant, every detail. It’s a hard one to come down from, I think we’re both still dreaming about it.”

In addition, their gold medal winning 2023 RHS Chelsea Show Teapot Trust’s Elsewhere Garden, has now been relocated to its new home within the grounds of the Royal Hospital for Children Glasgow (RHCG). The official opening took place last week, on June the 20th for young patients and their families.

The new garden is a place of calm inspiration for young patients and their families at RHCG, which is a national centre of excellence, supporting children from across Scotland. The garden will also be a home for outdoor art therapy provided by Teapot Trust – a children’s health charity that has partnered with RHCG long-term.

Supported by Project Giving Back, the grant-making charity that funds gardens for good causes at RHS Chelsea, Semple Begg wanted the design of the garden to capture the imagining of a child’s mind set free from the burden of chronic illness, mirroring the freedom and escape that art therapy gifts young patients. Plant choices were inspired by children’s books and films – Wonka, Oz and Wonderland – where colour is vivid and shape and form are exaggerated, creating a fantasy theme.

The relocation of the garden to Glasgow is something Semple Begg are immensely proud of. “Leading a public project that is going to have a long-lasting impact is a huge privilege. But ultimately what we are most proud of and gives us the most satisfaction, is knowing the garden will be looked after going forward. Following discussions with NHSGGC the hospital board had the foresight to invest in the garden’s future, ensuring it will be well-maintained by Shiona Blackie, a fantastic gardener, and her volunteers”, said Nicola Semple.

Hattie Ghaui, CEO of Project Giving Back, the grant-making charity that funded the Teapot Trust Elsewhere Garden at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2023 and partly funded its relocation to Glasgow, said: “We know the Teapot Trust Elsewhere Garden at the Royal Hospital for Children Glasgow will provide a colourful and joyful space for children, their families and the incredible staff who care for them to enjoy for many years to come. Project Giving Back is committed to funding gardens for good causes that use the RHS Chelsea platform as a springboard to longer term locations with benefits for the charity’s wider community. This garden is a brilliant example and will no doubt offer children much needed respite, as well as Teapot Trust outdoor art therapy, while undergoing their treatment and recovery. Huge credit must go to the Teapot Trust team, the garden designers, collaborators and additional supporters for making this relocation what it is today and will be long into the future.”

Reflecting on the success of Semple Begg and the past 10 years, Nicola Semple describes their approach, “It’s very rare to find someone who shares the same sensibility and creative values, someone whose judgement you trust implicitly. We are like quiet subconsious voices in the back of each other’s head guiding and encouraging each other to do better work, be adventurous, take calculated risks and keep trying new things. We now work comfortably across international borders in both French and English and we’re looking forward to the next 10 years, to taking on bigger projects in the UK, Switzerland and beyond.”