The Octavia Hill Garden is the People’s Choice at the 2024 RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Designed by Ann-Marie Powell, the Octavia Hill Garden by Blue Diamond with the National Trust wins the RHS/BBC People’s Choice Award, at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

The Octavia Hill Garden by Blue Diamond with the National Trust. Designed by Ann-Marie Powell with the Blue Diamond Team. Sponsored by Blue Diamond Garden Centres and The National Trust. Show Garden. RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2024

On the penultimate day of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, the highly anticipated award, the RHS/BBC People’s Choice, voted for by the public goes to the colourful, Octavia Hill Garden by Blue Diamond with the National Trust, designed by the award winning designer Ann-Marie Powell.

“Every Chelsea designer hopes for an award from the judges – it represents the pinnacle of horticulture. But I couldn’t be prouder that the public have chosen us for the People’s Choice Award. After all, our garden is an urban community wildlife garden, designed as a set of outdoor sitting rooms where people can be among vibrant plants, calming water and pollinators busy among the blooms”, said Ann-Marie Powell.

Earlier this week, the Silver-Gilt winning garden, was also voted the favourite of the junior judges who presented the designer with the RHS Children’s Choice Award. The Octavia Hill Garden is a beautiful plant filled wildlife garden designed to stimulate physical, mental and social wellbeing set within an urban setting.

“I’ve loved gardening and plants for so many years, I think, if I can just share a bit of the joy I feel from gardening then that will help someone else make their life a little bit better. I think Octavia Hill, one of the founders of the National Trust, would love the fact we have won the People’s Choice award as it is recognition that the public approve of the work she championed all those years ago, to celebrate the joy, benefits and importance of gardens and plants for everyone. It means so much for me and the hundreds of people who have worked on the garden to win this award and to have also received the RHS Children’s Choice Award chosen by children who are the gardeners of the future – that is just extraordinary!”, said Powell.

“My husband has supported my career for decades and I am just thrilled that although he is very ill he is still around to see me win this award, I know he will be very proud and I couldn’t have done this without him”, she added.

The team

The garden was built by the Landscape Consultants, founded by director Jake Catling. The BALI-registered, landscaping company is very familiar with RHS Shows has a proven reputation for dedication and high quality work.

Plants for the Octavia Hill Garden were grown by Hortus Loci, the wholesale plant nursery that works with landscape architects, garden designers and landscapers. Hortius Loci offer a vast range of perennials, shrubs, trees, topiary and hedging, most of which are grown on their 17 acre site located in North Hampshire. The aquatic plants were sourced from the family run, Lincolnshire Pond Plants. The plants were planted by Hampshire based, soft landscape experts, Location Landscapes.

The team of crafts people responsible for the structures, benches and pathways on the garden included; woodcarver Kate Hanrahan; metal working artist Richard Weaver; designer and structure manufacturer Sam Ogilvie; pond and stream water construction specialists, the Water Artisans.

Andy Jasper, National Trust Director of Gardens and Parklands, said: “There’s never been a better time to invest in gardens that make our neighbourhoods havens for people, nature and wildlife. Our founder, Octavia Hill, showed us the value of green spaces and they’re still at the heart of so much that our charity does. We couldn’t be happier to have won this award. The public have spoken loud and clear: they love what they have seen. Tarmac, concrete and artificial turf are our enemies – the way forward is investing in good design, inspired planting and skilled horticulturists to make it happen.”

Alan Roper, Blue Diamond Managing Director, said: “For me this was the Award I wanted to win the most because I feel the public voted for a true gardener’s garden. A garden that is the most relatable for people to be inspired by.”

The winner of the People’s Choice Award in the smaller garden categories was The Pulp Friction – Growing Skills Garden by first time designers Will Dutch & Tin- Tin Azure-Marxen. The garden celebrates the work Pulp Friction does to champion the skill, determination and passion of their members who are learning disabled and autistic people and challenge the perceptions of what they can achieve. Pulp Friction members were involved in the build of the garden and so winning the People’s Choice for the smaller garden categories is a fantastic example of just what can be achieved.

In the Balcony and Container Garden category the public voted 24 year old Thomas Clarke’s ‘Children with Cancer UK ‘Raines Repurposed’ as their winner. A balcony designed to offer respite for families affected by childhood cancer.