Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification

PEFC is the world's largest forest certification organisation

RHS Chelsea Garden Provides a Timber Tonic

Among the highlights at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021 was the award-winning Florence Nightingale Garden. This included a superb 60ft timber Pergola that used PEFC-certified Douglas Fir cross laminated timber (CLT) from leading French timber supplier Piveteaubois.

Sponsored by the Burdett Trust for Nursing and created by designer Robert Myers, the Garden was built by award-winning landscape company Bowles & Wyer and designed to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale.

Created for longevity, it was designed so that it could be taken down and erected on a new site. Ensuring that timber products are designed for reuse or remanufacture at the end of use, are key aspects in the move towards a circular economy. 

“With sustainability at the forefront of everyone’s minds, constructing the pergola from CLT offered an eco-friendly alternative to traditional building materials and helped to reduce our carbon footprint, which is particularly important at Chelsea, where the gardens are often transitory,” said Dan Riddlestone, Managing Director, Bowles and Wyer.

At the end of the show, the Garden was dismantled and transferred to its permanent home at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital, London.  The garden reopened in May 2022 and retains almost the same features, including the 60ft Pergola, with some design details and layout reconfigured for the hospital site. The garden provides a place of recovery and respite for both patients and staff. The theme of the garden is ‘nurture though nature’ and reflects some of the ideas the nursing pioneer introduced about the importance of green spaces, light and air in hospital settings.

Avey Bhatia, Chief Nurse for Guy’s and St Thomas’ said: “The new garden is a fitting tribute to Florence Nightingale who did so much to raise the reputation of nursing as a profession. We are incredibly proud of our links to Florence and delighted that this beautiful garden will have a permanent home with us, providing an oasis of calm for our patients, staff and visitors.”

Garden designer Robert Myers added: “I can’t think of a better use of our garden design skills than in a healthcare setting, knowing that gardens and green spaces have a demonstrable, positive impact on physical and mental wellbeing. We designed the Chelsea show garden as a restorative space, honouring Florence Nightingale’s principles – we always hoped that it would be rebuilt in the ‘real world’, and I’m delighted that the garden will now be available permanently for the people who really matter – nurses and patients at St Thomas’.”

Alongside the circular material aspects and sustainable nature of PEFC-certified timber, the garden will now play a key role in mindfulness and patient recovery for years to come.