Contemporary bee-friendly garden for designer’s debut at RHS Hampton

  • The Urban Pollinator Garden by Caitlin McLaughlin sponsored by Warner’s super-premium gin
  • Lifestyle show garden will buzz with on-trend ideas for attracting bees and insects
  • To be rehomed at Cransley Hospice in Northamptonshire after the show closes

A young designer’s debut show garden at RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival will be packed with stylishly simple take-home ideas for attracting pollinating insects, to inspire city dwellers to create their own nature-friendly back gardens.

The contemporary Urban Pollinator Garden by Caitlin McLaughlin of Thrift Landscapes, RHS Young Designer of the Year 2016, will fuse design, function and wildlife-friendly values. It will be sponsored by Warner’s – maker of Honeybee Gin – which is helping to fund the permanent relocation of the garden to Cransley Hospice in Northamptonshire after the show closes.

With a strong biodiversity message, the garden is designed to attract bees and other insects using on-trend yet practical features. The space is designed to offer a place for people to relax after a long day at work, connect with nature, and surround themselves with pollinators, without the complexity of maintaining beehives themselves.

There will be no beehives in the garden – instead a honeycomb-shaped habitat wall, nesting sites for solitary bees and bumblebees, and pollinator-friendly planting which will all encourage a variety of wildlife into the garden.

Simple but strong design principles are important and will be seen throughout the layout and hard landscaping of the garden. Contemporary honeycomb shapes will feature throughout, forming the structure of the sculptural habitat wall packed with twigs and branches, and hexagonal paving will be dotted with specially-made bee-printed tiles to identify entrances to underground bumblebee nests. The wall will also feature the innovative and stylish Bee Bricks, the award-winning solitary bee home design from Green & Blue, inspiring visitors to the show to replicate at home by simply placing in their garden, building into a wall or retrofitting in a few simple steps. Crab apple trees will offer architectural structure and provide spring pollen for bees, and the shallow cobble pond, fed by corten piping, will be the perfect place for bees to drink.

Caitlin’s tips for attracting pollinators to your garden:

  1. Create habitats within the garden design – don’t leave thinking about pollinators until after the garden is finished, build in spaces for them to nest as part of the layout. This way wildlife becomes a key aspect of the garden rather than an afterthought.
  2. Create sculptures as habitats – a habitat wall or solitary bee nest need not be a rustic, messy space at the back of the garden. Incorporate Green & Blue Bee Bricks or Bee Posts for sleek grey habitats in your garden, or build your own to suit your style. Our show garden features a freestanding hexagon sculpture that also acts as a habitat for solitary bees, mixing together art, design, and nature in one space.
  3. Think about your material choices – if you are creating a contemporary garden using grey sandstone tiles, why not use these to create Bumblebee homes as well. The nest underground needs to be straw lined, but the top of the nest can be contemporary stone, or in the case of my RHS Hampton Court garden, custom-made tiles with copper inlaid bee silhouettes, making sure nature features are functional and also high design.
  4. Water – Help keep the pollinators in your garden hydrated by providing a shallow pond or water bowl for them. Using metal tanks or powder-coated water bowls create contemporary features in your garden that also help the bees.
  5. Plan your planting with pollinators in mind. There are so many perennials, shrubs and trees that help bees so regardless of your garden style you will be able to find options that suit you and nature.

The Urban Pollinator Garden has many links to Warner’s, which runs multiple conservation and sustainability projects across the country, including Operation Honeybee, a series of initiatives designed to fortify the UK pollinator population, by planting wildflower habitat in the countryside home of Warner’s in Northamptonshire, as well as offering education and training to local colleges. Driven by its Honeybee Gin, which was launched in partnership with the RHS, Warner’s actively engages customers to get involved, as each bottle of Honeybee Gin comes with a packet of wildflower seeds to grow your own bee-friendly botanicals at home.

As part of a wider partnership with the RHS, Warner’s has also sponsored a new beekeepers initiative, and each year takes hives from Falls Farm to the Heather Garden at RHS garden Wisley.

Garden Designer Caitlin (29) said: “Built by Conway Landscapes, this garden will represent the importance of pollinators, specifically bees, within our own gardens and the wider environment. Living in a city, it is sometimes easy to forget about wildlife and the role it plays within our ecosystem. This design allows people to have a contemporary garden that still caters for pollinators, providing them with food and nesting spaces. My aim is for it to have multiple take-home messages to allow other people to adapt or create in their own gardens.”

A peaceful, naturalistic-looking planting scheme will be used, with pops of colour from perennials woven through grasses. Bee-friendly plants in calming purples, whites, and pinks will be used throughout the beds, including Campanula ‘Hemelstraling’, Astrantia ‘Superstar White Giant’ and Digitalis ‘Sutton’s Apricot’, with bright colour dashes from Achillea ‘Terracotta’ and Cirsium rivulare ‘Atropurpureum’ reflecting the heat of summer.

After the show closes, the garden will be rehomed at Cransley Hospice in Kettering, Northamptonshire, a charity local to both Caitlin and sponsor Warner’s, where it can be enjoyed by the patients, visitors and hospice staff for many years to come.

Warner’s (formerly Warner Edwards) was founded in 2012 by husband and wife team, Tom Warner and Tina Warner-Keogh, with the aim of ‘saving the world from mediocre gin’. Established on the family-owned Falls Farm in Northamptonshire, every bottle is hand-sealed and distilled in small batches on site using bespoke copper stills. Drawing water from their spring, growing seasonal botanicals, and collecting fresh honey from their farm’s own beehives – Warner’s is a farm-born, ‘graft’ gin created with a deep love of the land.


For further information contact Emma Mason on 07762 117433

Notes to editors:

Contractor – Conway Landscapes; Paving – Marshalls; Bee Bricks for Habitat Wall – Green & Blue; Hedging – Practicality Brown

Caitlin McLaughlin, 29, is an award-winning garden designer based in Northamptonshire. Formerly working at the Natural History Museum and Kew Gardens in plant sciences and conservation, Caitlin decided to pursue her passion for garden design, establishing a garden design practice, Thrift Landscapes, with her sister.  In 2016 Caitlin received a Gold Medal for her Nature and Nurture show garden at RHS Tatton and the prestigious RHS Young Designer of the Year accolade. She was the youngest of the three finalists to win the award that year. Following this award Caitlin was approached by Hillier Nurseries to gain invaluable experience on their 2017 Chelsea garden including mentorship by designer Sarah Eberle. Twitter: @Caitlin_ThriftL @ThriftLandscape Instagram: thriftlandscapes

About Warner’s

Since its inception in December 2012, every bottle of farm born Warner’s gin is lovingly hand-crafted with nature on Falls Farm in Harrington, Northamptonshire, by Tom & Tina Warner and their dream team.

After years of planning and months of experimentation, the team at Falls Farm created its first, award-winning Harrington Dry Gin – the brand’s unique version of a London dry gin – under the original brand name of Warner Edwards. Since 2012, the brand has pushed further, forging new gins and whole new categories of gin – creating world firsts, like the sweet, tangy Rhubarb Gin.

The Warner’s range currently includes Harrington Dry, Rhubarb, Sloe, Elderflower, Lemon Balm and Honeybee Gins at the following price points:

  • Warner’s Sloe Gin: £30 RRP / 30% ABV
  • Warner’s Harrington Dry Gin: £33 RRP / 44% ABV
  • Warner’s Elderflower Gin: £33 RRP / 40% ABV
  • Warner’s Rhubarb Gin: £38 RRP / 40% ABV (Was Victoria’s Rhubarb Gin)
  • Warner’s Honeybee Gin: £40 RRP / 43% ABV
  • Warner’s Lemon Balm Gin: £40 RRP / 43% ABV (Was Botanical Garden Melissa Lemon Balm Gin)

Warner’s has received several business and drinks-related accolades for its well-rounded and balanced delivery of elegant flavours, including:

  • #1 Super Premium Flavoured Gin in the on and off trade as of 31 Dec 2018
  • Ranked 6th in The Sunday Times Fast Track 100 in 2018
  • Outstanding Contribution to the Craft Distilling Industry
  • San Francisco World Spirits Awards: 2x Double Gold, Gold and Silver
  • IWSC– Gold and Silver
  • Global Distillery Master in Consumer Experience & Digital and Social Media
  • Berlin International Spirits Competition’s English Distillery of the Year 2018, as well as Gold, Silver and Bronze medals for a variety of gins in the range

Cransley Hospice Trust is committed to providing exceptional holistic care to patients living with life-limiting illness in North Northamptonshire.  They provide specialist end-of-life care to patients with complex needs and support patients in their chosen place of care at the end of life, whether this is in the Hospice or in the patient’s home. Cransley Hospice Trust is a registered charity which every year provides funding to support the care provided by Cransley Hospice. They need to raise over £1.4 million per year to ensure services will always remain free and outstanding to their patients.

Visit the website or social media channels for additional information about the services provided and the current fundraising activities. Website: Facebook:  @cransleyfundraising Twitter: @cransleyhospice Instagram: @cransleyhospice

For additional information or all press queries regarding Cransley Hospice, please contact Jacqueline Cheung, Marketing Manager at or on 01536 452423.