THIS year’s award-winning Welcome to Yorkshire garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show has drawn inspiration from the county’s numerous canal and waterway systems, including those here in Bradford.

The garden celebrates Yorkshire’s canals and rich industrial heritage, and this is the tenth year Yorkshire’s tourism board has entered the flower show.

This year’s garden is the most ambitious to date features a canal with two genuine lock gates, donated for the garden by the Canal and River Trust.

Some of Yorkshire’s most iconic locks can be found in the district, at Dowley Gap seven-arch aqueduct and staircase lock, and Bingley’s three-rise and five-rise locks, and the county’s industrial heritage is personified in Saltaire with the iconic Salts Mill.

Designed by Mark Gregory, the garden gives an authentic experience of being by the canal, and the design was so successful at the show it has been awarded the coveted Gold Medal.

Scores of celebrities flocked to the garden to catch a glimpse, including Ilkley’s Alan Titchmarsh, Bradford’s Anita Rani, Dame Judi Dench and Lawrence Llewelyn-Bowen.

Peter Dodd, commercial director of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “Mark’s been incredibly ambitious this year – but it’s worked – this garden has the real wow factor.

“His bold plan to source and adapt genuine canal lock gates combined with his incredible attention to detail has proved a great combination.

“The garden beautifully brings to life not only Yorkshire’s proud industrial heritage but celebrates the brilliant way our canals and waterways are used today for leisure, tourism, health and well-being.


“This is the greatest horticulture event in the world and such a fantastic opportunity to showcase Yorkshire to a global as well as a national audience.

“This authentic taster Mark has created will be sure to inspire people to visit and explore the county’s stunning green spaces for themselves.”

Mark Gregory added: “This is my 99th garden at Chelsea and I was determined to make it one to remember.

“Bringing a canal to the heart of SW3 has been no mean feat and myself and the team have really pulled out all the stops.

“I truly hope people will feel transported into an authentic patch of Yorkshire and if the idyllic scene encourages visitors to head north to experience the breathtaking region for themselves then we’ll have done ourselves and the county proud.”

“We’re over the moon the Welcome to Yorkshire garden has been recognised and couldn’t be more pleased with the result. Chelsea is always a team effort, and we’ve got a winning team, I couldn’t be prouder.”

Sean McGinley, director of Yorkshire & NE for Canal & River Trust added: “Mark and his team have created a stunning garden for Welcome to Yorkshire.

“As the charity that looks after the nation’s waterways, we’re thrilled to have helped realise the garden and it’s been a fantastic opportunity for our apprentices and team to be part of.

“Hopefully this slice of Yorkshire will encourage people to visit the region and spend time by the canals and rivers that we know can help improve our health, wellbeing and happiness.”

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show runs until Saturday at the Royal Hospital Chelsea in London.