Church Stretton garden design company win silver gilt medal at RHS Show


The ‘Designs with Nature’ team, along with pupils from Telford’s Ercall Wood Technology College and associate garden designer Rachel Phillips created the award winning garden at the show ground, called ‘the Budding Scientist Garden’ over a 4-week period and have been planning it over many months.

The stunning ‘outdoor classroom’ garden demonstrated how a small space can be transformed for young enquiring minds to explore, with edible, sensory and wildlife friendly planting. A circular sedum roofed learning pod, Van de Graff inspired water features and sculptural atom inspired steel work.

With donations and help from a varied group of local and national businesses as well as many local craftspeople including Jack Taylor’s steel work, Shropshire Building Supplies at Leebotwood and Dingle Nurseries near Welshpool, the garden at Malvern was built.

Mike Russell, owner of Designs with Nature said “this is the second time I’ve worked with Rachel on a show garden, as she helped me create the Gold Medal and Best at Show, ‘All inclusive’ garden for Headway Shropshire at last year’s Shrewsbury Flower Show, and she’s proving to be a budding garden designer”.

Rachel, from Ironbridge said “I designed the Budding Scientist Garden for Malvern as part of the application process for the Chris Beardshaw Mentoring scholarship, as the theme was ‘atom’. It has been a busy, challenging few months preparing for the show, but I have learnt an incredible amount in the process”.

Mike Russell and Rachel Phillips
Mike Russell and Rachel Phillips

Rachel continued “Mike and the team have been a fantastic source of support, and I couldn’t have built the garden without them. Mike is always full of inspirational advice, and has helped me gain the skills that I need to make a career change into the world of Garden Design.”

As well as winning Gold and Best at Show at last year’s Shrewsbury Flower Show, Mike’s company, Designs with Nature, have also scooped two other RHS Silver Gilt Awards in the past at BBC Gardeners World Live.

“Another Silver Gilt and Gold so far”, said Mike “which is just fantastic. It goes to show all the effort that is put into a show garden is appreciated”.

Mike said “the next show garden we are now planning is a ‘sensory seaside garden’ for the Severndale Specialist School in Shrewsbury”. Mike has been designing the garden and aims to show it at this year’s Shrewsbury Flower Show. After the event, the garden will be ‘relocated’ to the school in Monkmoor.

Previous clients for Mike have included The Shropshire Wildlife Trust, Hope House, Fordhall Farm and The Longmynd Hotel. Mike’s style of work has been described as ‘sensitive and natural’.