Welsh boys win silver gilt at Chelsea for dark skies inspired garden – released 23 May 2014

Two Welsh brothers, Harry and David Rich have won a silver gilt medal at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show for their garden Vital Earth:  The Night Sky Garden, inspired by the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park’s dark skies – one of only five International Dark Sky Reserves in the world. 

Announced only yesterday, Harry,  26 and David, 23, who is the youngest designer of a Chelsea Garden Show, created the unique garden with a design of steel, glass, natural stone, timber and naturalistic planting.   The award of the silver gilt medal on the Main Avenue follows on their success winning a Gold-medal in the Artisan garden in 2013.

Sponsored by Bord na Móna, Ireland’s leading environmentally friendly responsible utility supplier and peat-free compost brand Vital Earth, and supported by the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority, the garden featured a star-shaped cobblestone path cuts through a series of curving stone walls – sourced from Llangors Quarry in the Bannau Brycheiniog – which trace the shape of constellations.  Two steel edged reflective pools suggest black holes, whilst boulders – also sourced from the National Park – are used to mirror fallen meteors and brass discs, cut into the powder coated steel boundary wall – handmade by local craftman Pete Downey Engineering – glow like constellations in a night sky.  Naturalistic planting, dominated by white, with swirling tones of blues and oranges echo the path of the Milky Way and a grassy bowl and the roof of the nearby oak and glass rooftop studio, manufactured in Mid-Wales and marketed by Kestrel Oak, Brecon provide different spots for star gazing.

The Rich Brothers professed themselves delighted with the reaction to the garden they not only designed but also built.  Harry commented, “This is fantastic and the perfect follow up to our winning artisan garden at Chelsea last year.”

Steve Harper, Head of Consumer UK for Bord na Móna said, “Harry and David are incredibly talented and look set for a great career at the forefront of contemporary gardening.  Their naturalistic style exactly complements the values and aspirations of the Vital Earth peat-free range and we are delighted to be working with them.”

Chairman of Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority Julie James said:  “We are over the moon to hear the news that Harry and David won a silver gilt medal and we could not be more proud of the boys’ efforts.  Their Night Sky Garden conveyed an important message about the National Park’s International Dark Skies Reserve status and it has been wonderful to see the response from the people here in the Bannau Brycheiniog who’ve been so enthusiastic about the garden.  It’s a garden that people can relate to and so many people have said that it looked like a little piece of the Bannau Brycheiniog transplanted to the heart of London – and that’s proof to us all on how well the boys have done.  To everyone involved we offer our congratulations for their fantastic achievement and we look forward to seeing what they turn their hands to next.”

The garden will now be carefully relocated to Beechwood Autistic College in Cardiff.  To find out more about the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Dark Skies Reserve, and how to plan a visit by day or night, visit www.breconbeacons.org/stargazing