Gold Chelsea Flower Show Guangzhou Garden to be gifted to Bristol

The Guangzhou China: Guangzhou Garden that was crowned the 'Best Show Garden' at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show has been gifted by Guangzhou to Bristol and will be rebuilt at the University of Bristol’s Botanic Garden in 2022. Bristol has been twinned with Guangzhou since 2001.

The Guangzhou Garden, which also won a gold medal, was designed by Peter Chmiel with Chin-Jung Chen of landscape architecture practice Grant Associates, and was inspired by a philosophy of reconnecting people and nature, while also highlighting the benefits of responsible city planning.

Inspired by the holistic landscape stewardship programme of environmental planners in Guangzhou, the garden features a pool of water, trees, shrubs, shelters, green foliage, and white, blue and yellow perennials.

The garden also highlights the benefits of responsible city planning and how planners must work in harmony with nature to better connect people with the natural world. With a focus on climate change, it's an eco-garden with an aim to make a difference.

The relationship between Bristol and Guangzhou in southern China was cemented in 2001 when a sister city agreement was signed, and it was further strengthened in 2013 through the signing of a new Bilateral Agreement between the two city governments. Both agreements were facilitated by the Bristol and West of England China Bureau (B&WoECB).

Professor Judith Squires, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost at the University of Bristol, said:

“We are delighted to accept this very special gift. I hope it will be enjoyed by all our students, staff and the wider Bristol community for years to come.

“The gift of the garden reflects both the strength of the City’s twinning with Guangzhou and our own University’s excellent links with Guangzhou institutions, including those between our Botanic Garden staff and those in the famed Guangzhou Gardens. We are thrilled that the garden will enhance the Botanic Garden’s existing collection of Chinese plants and herbs, and are pleased that we have been able to provide a permanent home for this prize-winning garden. As we work to rehome the garden, we will ensure it keeps its important narrative on nature and sustainability.”

Peter Chmiel, one of the garden’s designers and Director at Grant Associates, said:

“It is great news to hear the garden will be returning to the West Country and continue to support the botanical links with Guangzhou.

“It was amazing that the garden was so well-received at the Chelsea Flower Show. I believe that the planting concepts were appreciated beyond just the visual beauty and serenity but, also for its sustainability credentials, wildlife value and other benefits to people and nature. I would like to think of our garden as a landscape or blueprint to inspire the green infrastructure for our much-needed future ‘landscape cities’."

Asher Craig, Deputy Mayor at Bristol City Council, added:

“I would like to say a big thank you to Guangzhou for this meaningful gift to the city in the 20th anniversary year of our sister city relationship. The garden’s gold medal is so well-deserved.

“Bristol and Guangzhou have long had sustainability as a focus of our twinning partnership and the garden reflects this with its focus on ecological civilisation. I am pleased that projects such as this enhance the link between our cities. With our Chinese diaspora living in Bristol and the garden’s central location, I am sure it’ll be enjoyed by many citizens and visitors.”

The Guangzhou China: Guangzhou Garden will be rebuilt at the Botanic Garden in the coming months and will be unveiled in early Summer 2022, in the 21st anniversary year of the sister city relationship between Bristol and Guangzhou.

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About Grant Associates

Grant Associates is a pioneering international landscape architecture practice. Our work reconnects people with nature in insightful, delightful and distinctive ways whilst addressing the global challenges of urbanisation, the climate crisis and biodiversity extinction.

Our design process is underpinned by a knowledge of human behaviour, nature and ecological science combined with innovative design technology. We bring original thinking, creative collaboration and are exploring what regenerative design and the circular economy means to landscape architecture.

Our varied portfolio includes ambitious large-scale, landmark projects through to small, local ventures.