The winning garden designer in the inaugural Raymond Blanc Heritage Garden
competition has been named as Anne Keenan MSGD. A registered member of the Society of Garden Designers (SGD), Anne’s design concept was chosen by a judging panel that included Raymond Blanc, Bob Sherman from Garden Organic and Juliet Sargeant from the SGD.
The Heritage Garden competition, run in conjunction with Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Garden Organic, Hartley Botanic and the SGD, was conceived to raise awareness of the on-going work by national charity Garden Organic in promoting organic gardening methods, preserving knowledge and safeguarding rare varieties that were once the mainstay of our British gardens.
David Love Cameron from County Antrim has been named as Raymond Blanc’s first garden scholarship winner. He will have the opportunity to observe and participate in the whole process of designing, building and planning the prestigious new Heritage Garden at Le Manoir.
David has worked with Root & Branch Organic, pop up cafes and field kitchen’s teams who serve the best local produce. David was previously a project co-ordinator for Organic Horticulture which involved design, build and facilitate community gardens and he also works on Edible Education projects to groups of adults who have poor mental health.
Commenting on winning the garden scholarship, David said he was ‘Delighted to have been selected and hugely excited at the prospect of working with Raymond, Anne Marie and the team.’
With input from Le Manoir, Garden Organic and the Society of Garden Designers, David will be afforded an integrated programme of gardening, horticulture and design; the perfect springboard for a well-rounded professional.
Commenting on the winning team Raymond Blanc said: "It was not an easy decision for us! For the designers, there were four strong designs to consider. Anne's design fully incorporated the Hartley Botanical green house as the main focus of the garden. The design is aesthetically pleasing yet practical for the maximum production and display of heritage vegetables which was important to me. I can't wait to start! David showed commitment, enthusiasm and determination which I loved.”
The garden will feature heritage vegetables from the Garden Organic Heritage Seed Library, and will be sited within the kitchen gardens at Raymond Blanc’s two-Michelin star restaurant Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons.
Describing her winning design concept, Anne Keenan said: “I was very much inspired by the Le Manoir site itself, the shapes, materials and general spirit of the place. I love the honey‐coloured stone contrasting with the warm terracotta tiles and chimneys, the leaves of the plants, the repeating circles seen in the dovecote, path junctions and clipped box balls. Even the church gate helped in the creation of my master plan.”
Bob Sherman of Garden Organic said: “Anne's winning design demonstrated how well she had understood the brief for the competition. Her design was inventive, creative and relatively straightforward in the sense that it would not be complicated to put together and very manageable once completed as a garden. It also reflected the theme of heritage varieties very well and was designed to ensure the heritage vegetables played a starring role."
The design concept utilises circles as a devise to overcome the unusual shape of The Heritage Garden and to facilitate strong visual and physical connections between the glasshouse, the Heritage Garden and the adjacent vegetable and herb gardens.
Anne continues: “I wanted to make my garden accessible to visitors, to help them learn and understand about organic gardening. In a garden setting, I think knowledge and understanding relies on good signage, so I’ve used traditional forcer pots to display information about the garden, its plants and its features and supplemented these with finger posts to ensure the garden is easy to find”.
A garden gate will invite visitors into the site, while sinuous paths will draw visitors into the central open area where eight beds reserved for the growing of heritage vegetables will facilitate a five-year rotation, according to Soil Association principles. Around the perimeter of the garden, beds will display plants that are good pollinators, sources of nectar, encourage biodiversity and in many cases have medicinal and edible roles. Other areas will be laid out to demonstrate water and green waste re‐cycling.
A series of low structures, including seating walls, will be positioned throughout the space providing outdoor teaching spaces and offering the opportunities to rest and enjoy the garden.
The garden will open in June 2014 and Anne will be responsible for the planning, planting and overseeing the building of the garden, working alongside the team at Le Manoir.