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UK Pavilion Beijing Expo Garden - 2019

The Horticultural Expo 2019 Beijing was open to the public from April to October under the theme “Live Green, Live Better”. 


The UK Garden and Pavilion, which celebrates the theme “Innovating for a Greener Future”, was led by the Department for International Trade (DIT) in partnership with the British Embassy in Beijing. We worked with a consortium of architectural and design companies led by M-Integrated Solutions, with design support from David Morley Architects.

The Expo site is 960 hectares, so it was important to have focal points attracting visitors into the UK garden. We used a planted union jack living wall on the Pavilion and a large central walk in fountain area which has been enjoyed by children splashing about in the heat!

The garden included a ‘Wildwood’ area designed to be evocative of a British woodland, providing shade and a space to rest and recharge. Betula pendula trees were underplanted with ferns and woodland flowering plants including Digitalis and Lamprocapnos


The ‘Botanicals’ planter showcased how plants are used in food and drink. Juniper cones and Iris germanica root are both used to make UK gin, jelly from the Malus fruit, herbs such as Salvia and Hyssop, scented edible Monarda, Rosa and Lavandula flowers. 


The ‘Biodiversity’ area was designed to raise awareness of the importance of British meadows and how pollinators are critical to our food chain. The meadow-style planting uses a matrix of grasses including Calamagrostis, Miscanthus and Stipa, interplanted with perennials such as Achillea, Coreopsis, Verbena, and Salvia all selected to attract bees, butterflies, hoverflies and moths. Later in the season seedheads will attract birds and provide habitat for other invertebrates. Watching the bees arrive into the garden as we were planting in April was a really wonderful moment!


The ‘Sensory’ garden surprises and delights all the senses. From the spiky blue Eryngium and Echinops, scented Paeonia, Trachlespernum, Rosa and Nicotiana to the furry leaves of the Stachys.


'The Penumbra' - Show Gardens 2018

The garden was designed to raise awareness of Stroke and the work of the Stroke Association and share the F.A.S.T. message with over 65,000 show visitors at RHS Flower Show Tatton Park 2018 and 30,000 at Blenheim Palace Flower Show.

Supporting the Stroke Association, the UK's leading charity dedicated to conquering stroke, a subject close to my heart following my Grandma's life changing stroke whilst camping in her 80's several years ago.

'The Penumbra' is designed for a shady, sheltered, urban garden, to show that abundant and lush planting can thrive in a small garden overshadowed by neighbouring buildings.


Penumbra meaning partial shade, is also the term for the tissue in the brain surrounding the area from which a stroke has emanated.


Bringing the two meanings together, this garden has been designed as a space for relatives of stroke survivors to step out of the clinical area and reflect and build their resilience to provide strength and support to their loved one.

This is something sadly I have lots of personal experience with needing, in the last few years, and has been designed from the heart.

The garden uses architectural forms of Dicksonia antarctica, combined with lush verdant green ferns and luxuriant foliage plants intermingled with flowering woodland plants. The rusty and maroon hues echo the colours in the Corten reflective water troughs. 


Weaving through the garden are two lines of rusted metal tubes providing strong vertical accents that represent the branches of the middle cerebral artery, most commonly affected by stroke. To increase biodiversity within the garden, planting and natural materials have been chosen to help provide habitats for invertebrates and attract bees and other pollinators.

BHE UK Garden Biodiversity
BHE UK Garden Children in Fountain
BHE UK Garden Biodiversity Meadow
Garden Designer Briony Doubleday RHS Gold Medal
RHS Gold Medal Award Bee's Gardens
RHS Awards Best Back to Back Best Construction and People's Choice awards
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