Gold Medal at Chelsea for Breaking Ground Garden


Wellington has returned to the Chelsea Flower Show for a second time, with the beautiful ‘Breaking Ground’ garden, designed by Wilson McWilliam Studio, picking up a gold medal in the Show Gardens category.

The design of ‘Breaking Ground’ is inspired by the College’s ambition for a new bursary campaign which will break down the barriers to independent schooling by offer life-changing bursaries to young people with talent and promise who would, otherwise, be unable to access a Wellington education. The garden also references the synaptic activity governing our thought process – triggering cognitive connections and responses, facilitating the formation of ideas and concepts. Inspiration comes from the structure and nature of our neurone activity with water, one of the basic elements which makes these processes possible, running through the hard and soft elements of the design.


The garden is based on the notion that the walls which once enclosed the public school community will become increasingly irrelevant and this idea is expressed through the four-metre high ‘disappearing’ walls which play an integral part in the design.  The garden also includes majestic hawthorn trees within an ornamental meadow, with rare species of violets and orchids populating the heathland and representing the setting of Wellington College in one section of the garden. In the ornamental meadow, a mix of perennials and grasses are set in a synaptic pattern, and many selected plants are umbels, creating the impression of explosive moments of thought processes. Over 200 pupils from the family of Wellington schools in the UK and China have also left handwritten personal messages about their visions for the future.

Julian Thomas, Master of Wellington, commented that, “The garden magnificently symbolises the breaking down of the walls associated with an independent education, and truly represents our collective ambition to do all we can to provide an outstanding and inspiring education for as many young people as possible.”



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