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. This is so lovely! I intend to daydream myself here and I know I’ll be better for it. The possibility of losing any part of it to a bacterial invasion that might be preventable is very sad, especially right now. We need every sanctuary we can get.

  2. Oddment is so right. Not sure I can improve on her comment. Your post is one of contrasts—beauty mixed with an urgent warning. Here’s hoping that your island is spared.

  3. What a beautiful post . . . and I had heard about the spittlebug sightings but not the reason why. Thanks for the explanation, I will make sure I report this year

    1. I always enjoy seeing the Young Designer gardens – it must be fun, a great way to kick start their careers and a learning exercise too.

    1. You’re right! I was not sure whether to mention the message behind the garden, because we all need something more cheerful to think about, but then I realised that the designer would surely want me to and the issue is peculiarly relevant.

  4. What a truly beautiful garden. I do wish I had the ability to put together plants in such an accomplished way. I admire those with that talent.

    Thank you for the info re the spittlebug.

  5. Love the design and colour palette in this garden. From your photos it looks much like the type of garden I would have if I lived in a single family home instead of an apartment block.

  6. A beautifully designed garden with a message. It’s the kind of garden we should have, instead of simple lawns you see so often. I certainly hope that disease doesn’t arrive in your area.

    I’m not sure about that copper swing seat, though. On a hot summer’s day, that could be very very very uncomfortable.

  7. This bacteria came to Europe from the Americas? This is the first I’ve heard of it. I wonder if it is already in my area. I love the soft color pallette in this sanctuary garden.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: