The Size of Wales Garden

An RHS Chelsea garden inspired by the abundance and diversity of tropical forests, and the works of Size of Wales to prevent the tragedy of their destruction.

The Size of Wales Garden RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2024

The Size of Wales is a unique charity that is making Wales part of the global solution to climate change. The charity works with indigenous and local people worldwide to grow trees and protect at least 2 million hectares of tropical forests – an area the size of Wales. They aim to educate and inspire people in Wales to recognise the critical role Indigenous communities play in protecting the climate, biodiversity, and livelihoods.

Designed by Dan Bristow, the garden will feature 313 plant species reflecting the number of tree species that can occur in just one hectare of tropical forest. Slender spires of columnar trees soar skywards, and alpine miniatures mound among the rocks, sprinkled with yellow flowers – the colour of hope. Roughly one third of the planting is alpine and drought-tolerant plants, situated in free-draining substrate and interspersed with gravel.

A couple of small roofs nestle at the top of gangly posts, calling to mind the precariousness of our current existence. A fungus fence gives a platform to the mostly hidden kingdom of fungi, so vital to the health of every forest in the world.

In terms of sustainability, only local materials are used in the garden. Stone from Anglesey, larch & oak grown in Wales. Plants are almost entirely grown in the UK. The fungus fence and natural clay-rendered rear wall will be used only at the show. The entire structure will be 100% compostable once it is not needed, with the fungus actively breaking down the timber used.

The garden will live on and mature at Treborth Botanic Garden in North Wales to allow the public full access, as well as being expertly maintained by the staff there.

The Designer

Dan Bristow is garden designer based in Snowdonia. Established in 2008, his design practice draws on bold and playful, contextual landscape themes, with a plantsman’s eye for rarities that suit specific locations, all bound together with a long-term focused approach. Bristow’s quest to learn of new plants and experience them in their natural habitats has seen him journey on numerous plant-hunting trips worldwide.

The garden is supported by Project Giving Back and will be built by Mark Wallinger Gardens and Landscapes.