The Resilience Garden wins Gold Medal and Best Construction Award at Chelsea

Chelsea Flower Show award - The Resilience Garden
The Resilience Garden wins Gold Medal and Best Construction Award at Chelsea
  • Garden highlights diverse planting and strict biosecurity to combat climate change
  • Designer Sarah Eberle takes home 17th gold medal at RHS shows

The Resilience Garden has been awarded two prestigious awards at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019.

The garden, created by Sarah Eberle to mark the Forestry Commission centenary, advocates that we need to diversify planting and follow strict biosecurity measures to help protect our landscapes from climate change, pests and diseases. The Resilience Garden was built by Crocus.

The project was inspired by visionary gardener William Robinson and initiated by the William Robinson Gravetye Charity. Echoing Robinson’s experimental style, the garden features 145 different species including a giant redwood, tulip tree, prickly pear cactus, red yucca, and ginkgo.

Designer Sarah Eberle, said, “I’m absolutely delighted the garden has been recognised and shone a big spotlight on the implications of our changing climate and the importance of plant health.”

“I hope this will inspire people to play their part in helping to create healthy forests, landscapes and gardens that are full of life for generations to come. Thank you to the whole team for bringing this project to life.”

The centre piece is a six metre tall grain silo, repurposed as the designer’s studio with an oak floor and lined with a willow weaving by sculptor Tom Hare.

Areas of the garden include woodland, dry and damp zones, a pond and wildflower meadow. The damp area displays butter and sugar iris and globeflower. Woodland plants include Canton fairy bells and Henry’s lime, while the arid zone features aloe vera and Afghan fig. The meadow presents wildflowers including Californian poppies and common columbine.

The different habitats mimic existing and probable impacts of climate change in the UK, including drier summers and wetter winters. To create healthy landscapes, we need to plant trees and plants that are resilient to the pressures of a changing environment.

The Resilience Garden forms part of year-long celebration of 100 years of forestry in Britain.

The Forestry Commission, established in 1919, is planting diverse woodlands and trialling how different species fare in diverse climatic conditions. This includes exploring different genetic strains of native trees including ash, oak and beech, and planting alternative species like Montpellier maple, red oak, Chinese mahogany, and western red cedar.

Sir Harry Studholme, Chair of the Forestry Commission, said, “What a fantastic achievement for Sarah and all who’ve been working on this garden. A huge thank you to all our supporters, who care very deeply about creating resilient landscapes, now and in the future”

Lord Gardiner, Defra Biosecurity Minister said: 

“I cannot think of a more fitting garden to celebrate the Forestry Commission’s centenary and pay tribute to their invaluable work in helping to safeguard our beautiful trees.”

The Resilience Garden is supported by the Kingscote Estate, Gravetye Manor Hotel & Restaurant, the Forestry Commission, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Defra, Scottish Forestry and the Scottish and Welsh governments. The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), Observatree and Action Oak are project partners.

For more information, visit 




For more information please contact:

Harry Shepherd, Forestry Commission | | 07920 542 173 
Meera Hindocha, Forestry Commission | | 07827 082 355

Notes to editors:

100 Years of Forestry: 1919 – 2019

Throughout 2019 the Forestry Commission is celebrating 100 years of forestry with a cultural programme that recognises the vital contribution forests make to our wellbeing, economy and environment while looking ahead to the next hundred years. For more information visit

Forestry in England is managed by the Forestry Commission. It includes:

  • Forest Services, the government’s forestry experts helping to protect, improve and expand England’s forests.
  • Forestry England, managing the nation’s 1,500 forests for people, timber and wildlife.
  • Forest Research, delivering internationally-renowned tree-related research for Great Britain and beyond.

The William Robinson Gravetye Charity was established to manage and care for the 750-acre Gravetye Estate on behalf of its former owner, horticulturist William Robinson. 

The Kingscote Estate is a wine producer and event venue nestled in the heart of West Sussex. The vineyard is planted within the origins of William Robinson’s country garden.

Gravetye Manor Hotel & Restaurant is a delightful historic hotel set in more than 1,000 acres of tranquil English countryside. Under its current owners, Jeremey and Elizabeth Hosking, Gravetye Manor has seen a complete restoration of the William Robinson garden. 

Defra is the UK government department responsible for safeguarding our natural environment, supporting our world-leading food and farming industry, and sustaining a thriving rural economy.

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is a world famous scientific organisation, internationally respected for its outstanding collections as well as its scientific expertise in plant diversity, conservation and sustainable development in the UK and around the world.

Scottish Forestry is responsible for delivering Scottish Ministers’ forestry policy, regulation, grants incentives, technical forestry advice and new cross border arrangements.

APHA is an executive agency of Defra working to safeguard animal and plant health for the benefit of people, the environment and the economy.