In these unsettling times one thing you can still do is to go outdoors and enjoy nature. (Make sure you keep checking and adhering to government guidelines.)
Our show gardens are an extension of the original stock garden which was planted by Lawrence Walker and are now over 40 years old. Developed by Graham Bodle, the new show gardens opened in 2008. Covering eight acres of rural countryside, with views of the Water Garden, the Woodland Trail, the Gatehouse and the Stone Circle. They’re the perfect place to walk off a hearty full English or Sunday lunch from the garden restaurant!
So we’ve decided to look back at Graham Bodle's previous entries over the years. Graham has exhibited 6 times at RHS Chelsea, achieving one silver, one silver-gilt and two gold medal and two best in artisan categories.
His most recent entry was The Forgotten Quarry Garden in 2019, inspired by a local sand and gravel quarry on Mosham Road, Blaxton. Set within a disused local quarry, the garden converted an unused industrial site into a usable space.
A reclaimed original inspection tower, found at the quarry, added height emerging through the planting. Other industrial curiosities were been used to create interest. Pieces of stone add structure and an old digger bucket was used to create a small nature pond.
The planting scheme demonstrates the versatility of conifers. Larger specimens add height and texture. While smaller specimens add form to the lower story planting contrasted by flowing grasses. The colour palette was predominantly green, broken up with shades of brown and orange inspired by the rust on the industrial objects.
The Walker’s Wharf Garden was awarded a Gold medal for the 'Best Artisan Garden' in 2017. A disused industrial wharf, reminiscent of those along the waterways of northern England, provided the inspiration.
Intricate sculptural work, using recycled materials combined with strategic and understated planting created a usable outdoor area from a derelict industrial space. It included a draw bridge, crane arm, and a decked area in which to relax. Finishing touches such as a lichen covered skull complete the garden. The bridge and crane have been relocated along the beck that divides our landscaped show gardens.
In 2015 Graham designed the Sculptor’s Picnic Garden, supported by Doncaster Deaf Trust. This garden won the Gold Medal award for Best Artisan award at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2015.
The garden was designed around the sculptural oak branches which are reminiscent of a stag's antlers. The branches create a semi enclosed space and frame the garden perfectly, creating a tranquil atmosphere. Designed to be situated at the edge of a woodland area, the colour scheme is predominantly green with hints of brown showing through with the branches and seating. This garden has also been relocated into the Walker’s Show gardens, just follow the second path from the main car park.
Established by his grandparents in 1951, Walker's Nurseries continues to specialise in pines and conifers. Graham used a woodland planting scheme to incorporate some heritage into the garden and continued the theme including tree stumps to create a rustic, natural seating area.
Way back in 2013, was the Walker’s Pine Cottage Garden. The focal point of the cottage style garden was an intricate wall-mounted sculpture celebrating 100 years of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. The sculpture contrasted well with the rendered wall backdrop. The garden featured topiary pines and a cloud-clipped specimen in a container. This added shape, form and texture to the design, contrasted with loose, flowing planting. Inspiration for the stone rill water feature came from Rousham Gardens. And Chatsworth inspired the gold leaf gilding on the sandstone obelisks, that punctuate the corners of the borders.