Juliet Sargeant designs new RHS garden in partnership with Blue Peter

  • The New Blue Peter Garden: Discover Soil to have a permanent home at RHS Garden Bridgewater from the autumn with a preview showing at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 
  • 2022 new Blue Peter garden designed by Juliet Sargeant – fun and interactive soil science, journey through soil in a subterranean rhizotron, dodge ‘rain’ showers, listen to a compost heap, and explore a spring barley field, wildflower meadow with orchids, native woodland or veg patc

A new soil-themed garden, in partnership with CBBC’s Blue Peter, is to open to visitors at RHS Garden Bridgewater in Salford in the autumn – with a guest appearance first at this month’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

Designed by award-winning designer Juliet Sargeant, it will champion the very modern-day topic of soil’s central role in supporting life and its potential to lock-in carbon. Aimed at engaging children and adults to discover the importance of soil in their own back gardens, balconies, or communities, it will explain why we need to protect it and how. The new garden will first preview as a Main Avenue show garden at RHS Chelsea later this month, before being relocated to its permanent home at RHS Garden Bridgewater for public access.

A beautiful mini wildflower meadow featuring British orchids; tiny ‘field’ planted with spring barley, a RHS Chelsea first; veg patch and native woodland, will demonstrate how soil supports our natural landscape, food crops and gardens.  To access the immersive garden, visitors at RHS Garden Bridgewater will be able to hop over stepping stones and then crawl into dank fern-planted cavities to dig the earth, listen to the sounds of a compost heap, and even dodge a playful rain shower, a reminder of how water forms and also degrades soil.

The brightly planted garden will take you down into the ground and bring the soil up from beneath your feet, to see, touch and hear, and to draw you into the amazing underground world of mini-beasts and microbes. The earthy adventure continues with a semi-subterranean, theatrical rhizotron chamber where a soil animation by Polish artist Zuzanna Kolodziej will play, with tree roots growing above.

Juliet Sargeant said: “Soil supports most of the life on our planet, without soil there is nothing. Down-trodden and neglected, it is the ‘forgotten climate solution’ beneath our feet. Healthy soils not only feed most of life on earth, but also act as an essential carbon sink for damaging greenhouse gases. My aim with this garden is to invite people to look more closely at soil and the subtleties of its complex ecosystem. We raise it up to eye level and say, ‘Look at this!”

Citizen art on the garden includes ‘creepy crawlies’ painted by Year 5 children from Salford and soil de-crustation artworks by German artist Anneli Ketterer in collaboration with Salford residents. Sculptor Teresa Wells has cast a bespoke bronze of 4-year-old, Arthur, discovering a worm for the garden. In Compost Corner you can listen to the sounds of a healthy soil, recorded by the Zurich University Sounding Soil project. Tiles of Stow have created bespoke cracked clay paving tiles, to remind us of the devastation of drought, but the brightly coloured planting and field of barley illustrate the abundance that a healthy soil sustains.

There will be blue and orange-hued plants nurtured by Roger Platts Garden Design and Nurseries of Edenbridge.

Blue Peter has a proud history of garden design with the show’s original Blue Peter garden being designed by Percy Thrower in 1974. It was relocated from Television Centre to Media City in 2012, with the Italian-style sunken ornamental pond and statue of the first ever Blue Peter dog, Petra. The garden features regularly on the show and is open for the public to visit at Media City UK in Salford Quays.

The New Blue Peter Garden: Discover Soil is one of 12 gardens at RHS Chelsea Flower Show this year being funded by Project Giving Back (PGB). PGB is a new charity, established in response to the pandemic, that offers good causes in the UK the opportunity to exhibit a show garden at RHS Chelsea Flower Show, to promote their work for people, plants and the planet. All gardens supported by PGB will be relocated to permanent homes after the show so their legacy will live on for generations to come.

Five easy tips for helping your soil by Juliet Sargeant

  • Know your soil – The soil in your garden is an amazing micro-environment, teaming with life and the potential to grow. The character of the soil, its texture and chemical make-up is unique to your site. This is what gives your garden its individuality and what will affect the plants you can grow. Get to know your soil by observing its colour and texture and also by testing its acidity with a kit from the garden centre.
  • Feed your soil – The mini-beasts and micro-organisms that inhabit your soil need feeding. Their complex life cycles are what sustains the health of the soil. Starting a compost heap to recycle your food scraps and garden waste is the best thing you can do to feed your soil. Turn your waste into compost and use it to feed your soil.
  • Protect your soil – Soil is always there, beneath our feet; so, it is easy to overlook how fragile it is. Your soil needs protection from wind, rain and also compaction. The best way to protect soil is to plant it – leaves form a natural, protective blanket over the soil surface. However, digging the soil can damage its delicate structure, so why not try the ‘No-Dig Method’ of mulching your soil with peat-free compost to suppress the weeds. When you are watering, try to avoid flooding the soil and compacting it.
  • Plant your soil – The best way to support the natural life cycle of your soil is to grow plants. Trees in particular are invaluable to a garden’s ecosystem and to the protection and stabilisation of soil. Planting trees is great. However, given the many years it takes for a tree to grow, it is also important to protect established trees and only fell them when absolutely necessary.
  • Let your soil breathe….it’s alive – In this age of the car many of us need extra parking space. As more and more of us pave over our gardens, the soil beneath is dying; it is suffocating. This sealing of the soil, also prevents rainwater draining away and exacerbates local flooding. Fortunately, there are permeable paving solutions which you can choose for your driveway or patio.


For further press information contact: Emma Mason emma@emmamasonpr.co.uk 07762 117433


Designer: Juliet Sargeant – Office: 01273 834 083

www.julietsargeant.com www.sussexgardenschool.com

Twitter: @julietsargeant Instagram: julietsargeant Facebook: @sussexgardenschool

Juliet Sargeant – is a Sussex-based garden designer who loves to use gardens to tell stories and get us thinking. In 2016, she was awarded a CFS Gold Medal and The People’s Choice Award for her ‘Modern Slavery Garden’.

Having trained initially as a medical doctor, in this garden, she explores the interface between art and science. Juliet has long advocated the importance of gardens for health and in her private practice, she uses gardens to help connect people to landscape and nature. At her ‘Sussex Garden School’ she runs courses to de-mystify gardening and help people to get to know their gardens better.

Previously, Chair of The Society of Garden Designers, Juliet is now on the RHS (Royal Horticultural Soc) selection panel for show gardens and acts as a judge. She has won awards from the SGD in 2012 and 2015, for sustainability and hard landscaping design. In 2017 Juliet was made a Fellow of the SGD for her contribution to garden design & horticulture and in 2019 she was made Fellow of The Landscape Institute. In 2016 Juliet was celebrated for her role as a change-maker and role model in the BAME community at the GG2 Leadership Awards. She was also one of the Evening Standard’s Progress 100 influential people. In 2018 she was named as one of the BBC 100 Women.

Blue Peter – is the longest running kids TV show in the world featuring Adam, Mwaksy, Richie and Henry the dog. Blue Peter is packed full of challenges, celebrities, and things to do. Every week on CBBC and BBC iPlayer, Blue Peter encourages kids to join in, earn their badge, enter a competition, be creative and adventurous. bbc.co.uk/bluepeter

Project Giving Back (PGB) – is a unique grant-making charity that provides funding for gardens for good causes at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. PGB was launched in May 2021, with funding from two private individuals who wish to remain anonymous, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and its effect on UK charitable fundraising. It will fund gardens inspired by a range of good causes at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2022, 2023 and 2024. Applications for gardens in 2023 are now closed. Find out more at www.givingback.org.uk