Kristian Reay’s Phytosanctuary Garden

Garden with decking, winding path, and copper swing seat

Kristian Reay was named Young Designer of the Year at last year’s RHS Tatton Park Flower Show for his gold medal winning Phytosanctuary Garden.

The Mediterranean themed garden had lots of flowers and scents, with a magnificent copper swing seat as a focal point. Round seats and bean bags offered more space for relaxing (or queuing for the swing?) on a curved area of wooden decking.

Kristian’s planting was a dreamy mix of English and French lavender, Achillea, Gaura, Agapanthus, Verbena, Erigeron, Artemisia, Echinacea, Allium, Nepeta, Kniphofia and Hemerocallis beneath one multi-stemmed Italian olive tree.

On a windy day, there was lots of movement. Plants spilled over a flowing path of Cotswold stone chippings. White Gaura floated butterfly-like over the borders and tall grasses waved in the background.

Flowers in the Phytosanctuary Garden at RHS Tatton Park
It was windy on the day – a small tornado was later spotted nearby

Our minds naturally are on the current threat to human life, and most likely we are wishing precautions had been taken sooner. This garden warns of a very similar threat to British plants: a bacterial pathogen called Xylella fastidiosa.

It has reached mainland Europe from the Americas and has the potential to weaken and kill a wide range of plants, including fruit trees, rosemary, lavender and oleander. The UK is mercifully free from it for now, but in Italy it has devastated ancient olive groves. Kristian’s garden highlighted some of our best loved garden plants that are at risk.

If the disease arrives, it will be spread by sap sucking bugs, such as those that live in cuckoo spit, commonly found in our fields, woods and gardens. Sightings of spittlebugs are being recorded – if scientists know where they are, it helps them understand and model the likely spread.

An Olive tree underplanted with lavender, white and yellow flowers
A multi stemmed olive tree reminds us of what we could be missing

British gardeners can help by:

Check out Kristian Reay on Twitter or Instagram:

Shared for Becky’s AprilSquares: Top Young Designer.

22 Replies to “Kristian Reay’s Phytosanctuary Garden”

  1. How did I miss this one? Anyway thanks to Becky’s link I made it here. What a lovely garden. I am tempted to rip mine up and recreate this, it is so much what I like in a garden. Not to mention the copper swing seat. And one of my rosemary plants has died right off – it was a big shrub too – I think possible cause it wind damage and several of the branches were split.

    1. I’m glad you found your way here. I managed to post it in the past – the system used when I started it rather than when I finished it. Will you be replanting the rosemary? It’s such a useful plant – I love to rub a leaf or two through my fingers when I pass it.

      1. I have another rosemary and I will take more cuttings in case this one dies. I love cooking with it. A few sprigs on veggies and roasted in the oven and the whole house smells of rosemary!

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