Massive boreal forest inspiration for Charlotte Harris' first RHS Chelsea design

Charlotte Harris is to lead an all-female design team for the Royal Bank of Canada Garden at RHS Chelsea next year, her first Chelsea commission.

Forest inspiration: Charlotte Harris' design for RBC. Illustration by Sarah Jane Moon
Forest inspiration: Charlotte Harris' design for RBC. Illustration by Sarah Jane Moon

Her design draws inspiration from Canada’s 486 million hectare boreal forest and celebrates 150 years of the Federation of Canada as well as 10 years of the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)’s Blue Water Project, a global commitment to help protect the world’s fresh water resources.

The boreal forest is the largest intact forest and wetland ecosystem on earth, holding the largest unfrozen source of freshwater and storing twice the amount of carbon as a tropical forest.

Harris said: "When designing this garden, I spent time in northern Ontario exploring on foot and by canoe – navigating the waterways, pine forests, flora and granite of the boreal. This time was a precious source of inspiration for the design, providing an appreciation of what comprises this unique and beautiful environment, as well as the importance of living sustainably and in harmony with our precious ecosystems."

Her design has a wilder garden folding around elements with more human intervention, crafted from materials typical of the forest.

Harris has assisted on other Chelsea gardens, including Luciano Giubbilei’s Best in Show garden of 2014 and Hugo Bugg’s Royal Bank of Canada Garden in 2016. Her all-female design team includes architect Julia Feix, of Feix and Merlin and landscape architect Daisy Parsons, her planting team is Alys Fowler, Hannah Gardner, Anna Benn and Alison Jenkin. Hortus Loci is supplying the plants and Landscape Associates are building the garden. 



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