Strong media coverage for Commonwealth War Graves Commission Chelsea garden will help raise profile

Sponsoring a garden at RHS Chelsea Flower Show for the first time has so far paid off for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), its director of horticulture David Richardson has said.

The CWGC Centenary garden was designed by David Domoney and is one of the Artisan Gardens
The CWGC Centenary garden was designed by David Domoney and is one of the Artisan Gardens

He said the CWGC Centenary Garden, designed by David Domoney and located in the Artisan Gardens area of the show, had attracted a great deal of media attention before the show's first day was over. 

The garden seeks to evoke the spirit of CWGC sites, their expert horticulture and the craftsmanship which creates the headstones, monuments and sculputures, as the commission marks a century since it was formed.  

The bricks used in the garden are the same used to restore the Thiepvel memorial, France, the carving was completed by the Turkish Commonwealth engravers, the woodwork was provided by CWGC experts in Belgium, the paving is made from recycled Portland headstones from Cornwall and the metalwork crafted by the commission's artisans in France. 

"We’ve got incredible coverage. We were on the BBC Sunday all day, it’s really fantastic. For us that’s really significant," Richardson told Horticulture Week.

"People who come here, a lot of them do know about us, but the general public often don’t. I think this garden will raise our profile. That’s all we want out of it. The amount of media coverage we’ve had before the show opens is fantastic. There’s no expectation of medals."

CWGC decided to sponsor the garden to spread the word about the work it does caring for cemeteries and memorials at 23,000 locations, in 154 countries, honouring and remembering those who gave their lives for their countrymen and women. 

It also launched a new charity to help it better engage with members of the public and fundraise.

Richardson said the Chelsea experience had been very welcoming and enjoyable.

"It’s been really nice being here with colleagues and friends in the industry during the build-up. You get a sense you’re part of a bigger thing."

He added: Working with David has been an absolutely pleasure and also really good for us because he’s got this amazing media presence." 

While he was designing the garden, Domoney traced his family through CWGC records, an experience he describes as deeply moving. 


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