The Octavia Hill Garden By Blue Diamond with the National Trust 

Ann-Marie Powell Gardens are thrilled to be returning to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2024 – Show times 21st – 25th May!

Working with our sponsors Blue Diamond Garden Centres and the National Trust our Main Avenue Show Garden celebrates Octavia Hill (1838-1912), the pioneering co-founder of the National Trust, who believed green spaces and gardens were vital in everyone’s life.

Our urban community wildlife garden responds to the idea that if Octavia Hill were alive today, she would still be working to give urban communities access to nature. Research continues to show the importance of green space for both physical and mental health. While celebrating Hill’s legacy, our garden also aims to inspire innovative gardens that connect people with the beauty and complexity of the natural world.

Our design approach is a showcase for sustainability and climate change resilience, with peat-free plants, reclaimed materials and low-carbon build techniques. We want to show that urban brownfield sites can be reclaimed to create beautiful, biodiverse spaces with huge wellbeing benefits.

We will be sharing more about the garden as we get closer to the show, but for now, we are delighted to share some background information and our visuals.

Blue Diamond and National Trust Combined Logo
3D Visual of The Octavia Hill Garden By Blue DIamond with the National Trust Designed by Ann-Marie Powell Gardens

Our Inspiration: Octavia Hill

The inspiration for the garden starts and ends with pioneering social reformer Octavia Hill (1838-1912). We have to thank Blue Diamond for their inspiring idea to celebrate Hill’s life and achievements at Chelsea 2024 and the wonderful journey of discovery this has taken us on.

Octavia Hill was one of the founders of the National Trust. She believed that ‘the healthy gift of air and the joy of plants and flowers’ were vital in everyone’s life. Hill worked tirelessly to improve urban housing and protect green space. Yet today, Hill is little known, and one-in-three people in Britain still don’t have access to nearby nature-rich spaces. We want to change that.

Our garden is imagined to be located on an urban brownfield site. This beautiful, gardened, plant-filled urban community wildlife garden is designed to stimulate physical, mental, and social well-being. The garden increases urban-biodiversity and encourages visitors to feel that they are part of nature by making intimate connections with plants and wildlife.

The garden is built as a series of open-air sitting rooms, where visitors can experience different views and atmospheres. Sloping level changes with wheelchair accessible paths, lead visitors to a planted shade canopy, observation platform, wildlife pond or walking stream as the mood takes them, providing multiple opportunities to enjoy the garden wildlife, feasting on the pollinator-friendly planting.

3D Visual of The Octavia Hill Garden By Blue DIamond with the National Trust Designed by Ann-Marie Powell Gardens
3D Visual of The Octavia Hill Garden By Blue DIamond with the National Trust Designed by Ann-Marie Powell Gardens

Our Beliefs

Octavia Hill believed everyone needs access to green space and ‘outdoor sitting rooms’ (gardens). The National Trust, Blue Diamond, Ann-Marie Powell Gardens and the RHS all share this belief, which is even more relevant to society today. Our garden embraces this idea by envisioning how Octavia Hill would work to give urban communities access to nature if she were alive in our present day. If you are living in a neighbourhood built after the millennium, your local park is more likely to be smaller and you are more likely to have to travel further to reach it than pre-2000. Statistical analysis suggests the decline in new green space provision after 2000 can now be associated with at least nine million fewer trips to green space a year.

The National Trust, Blue Diamond and Ann-Marie Powell Gardens believe in gardens for all. For people, nature and wildlife – just as Octavia Hill did. Gardens have the power to transform lives. Here at AMPG, we feel that we have a social responsibility to promote gardening and to inspire the creation of as many gardens as possible. Our urban parks, verges and gardens can increase plant diversity, connect us with nature and nurture wildlife. Our urban community wildlife garden, set on a brownfield site, shows plants and wildlife can thrive in places you may not expect.


Our garden includes many plants chosen to provide food sources for a range of wildlife, including pollinators, all year round. A 2021 study by scientists at London’s Natural History Museum revealed that the UK is one of the worst-rated nations in the world in retaining our natural animals and plants, whilst the 2021 Bugs Matter findings showed UK’s insect numbers have reduced by a staggering 59% between 2004 and 2021.

We believe that biodiversity isn’t a luxury, or a ‘nice to have’. When it is diminished, we all lose out.

We also believe that great things can be achieved whilst working to the highest environmental standards – using reclaimed materials, peat-free plants, environmentally sensitive hard landscaping and resilient plants.

After the show, the garden will be given a second life at Blue Diamond owned Bridgemere Show Gardens where it will be open to the public to enjoy all year round.

Gardens can and should be for everyone.

3D visual of The Octavia Hill Garden By Blue Diamond with the National Trust Designed by Ann-Marie Powell Gardens - TOP VIEW

Our Contractor

The Landscaping Consultants will be constructing the Octavia Hill Garden

Founded by owner and director Jake Catling, The Landscaping Consultants have large talent pool of skilled landscapers, and a proactive commitment to training, they have built a modern landscaping company which aims to create new, exciting opportunities for their workers and clients.

They are proud to be a BALI-registered landscaping company, and a multi-award winning build contractor with a focus on eco build and encouraging youth engagement in the industry. With a strong familiarity with RHS shows, The Landscaping Consultants have a brilliant reputation for dedication, high quality work and client satisfaction.

Our Planting Team

Location Landscapes will be planting up the Octavia Hill Garden

Location Landscapes are experts in garden maintenance and soft landscaping for domestic gardens in Hampshire and the Home Counties. Led by Charles Blumlein, the team have a wealth of experience and are passionate about creating gardens that will bring you endless pleasure.

Their teams of well-trained gardeners are able to offer ongoing advice on the upkeep of your garden as well as providing seasonal pruning, lawn treatments and general maintenance. The soft landscaping teams can manage any size project, from courtyard to country estate. Location Landscapes are proud to be a BALI-registered landscaping company. In our experience they offer an impeccable service to their clients with unmatched attention to detail. This is why we love working with them and are happy to recommend them to so many of our clients.

Meet Our Specialists

We are very lucky to have a brilliant team of specialist working with us on our Chelsea show garden. These talented designers, artisans, manufacturers and contractors are working tirelessly to help bring Octavia Hill’s legacy to the Chelsea Showground in May 2024.

Architect Giles Jollands designed the structure for the Octavia Hill Garden

Our Architect

Giles Jollands is an architect who established his practice in the late 1980’s. From the outset his work has been mainly residential but he also designs commercial, medical, office and light industrial buildings. The outcome of each project is distinct, developed from the brief and context, but always seeks to provide comfort, sanctuary and shelter. Consistent themes in his work include spatial design using volume and light, relationships between structures and landscape, and the sustainable and considered use of materials, colour and texture.

Sam Olgilvie will be constructing the structure for The Octavia Hill Garden

Our Structure Manufacturer

Sam grew up in the North of Scotland. He travelled extensively with his parents in the US but finally settled in London where he trained at Middlesex School of Art and then Kingston University in Furniture Design and Applied Arts. After finishing his training he began designing bespoke sculptural furniture. In 1994 he found his way into commercial interior design when he was asked to create an interior for a London nightclub as well as designing the furniture. From there the commissions multiplied to include many well known bars, clubs, restaurants and shops in and around London. Alongside these interior projects, he still found time for his first love, creating unique pieces of furniture and sculpture, collaborating with artists and architects.

Metalsmith Richard Weaver will be contributing to many metal elements throughout the Octavia Hill Garden

Artistic Metalsmith

Working primarily with metal, forging, forming, and fabricating, all of Richard’s work is created by hand, using a broad range of traditional and modern tools and techniques. His work features in numerous private residences, hotels and public spaces across the UK and Europe. The core of Richard’s work is architectural in nature, creating bespoke staircases and balustrades, these types of projects offer unique challenges in terms of design and problem-solving that Richard and the team thrive on.

Kate Hanrahan will be carving the timber benches and timber retaining wall for the Octavia Hill Garden

Our Woodcarver

Kate Hanrahan is an accomplished woodcarver and gilder with a rich background in historical craftsmanship. Trained at the City and Guilds of London College of Art School, she has worked in diverse disciplines and renowned locations, including national treasures preserved by the National Trust. Highlights include learning from master carver Grinling Gibbons during the restoration of Petworth House and conserving Chippendale pieces at Nostell Priory. She also created a new servery table after a fire at Uppark. After working with sculptress Alison Crowther for many years, Hanrahan developed a profound passion for crafting contemporary organic pieces from green oak.

Justin Wiggan will be producing an immersive sound experience for the visitors to the Octavia Hill garden to enjoy

Our Sound Artist

Justin Wiggan is an artist working at the frontiers of arts and public intervention. His practice includes a range of media from sound, phonics, film, drawing, installation, interventions and performance, and has also attracted collaboration across the medical research and creative industries sectors.

Water Artisans will be advising and constructing the water elements design for the Octavia Hill Garden

Our Pond and Stream Construction Specialists

Water Artisans specialise in the creation of biologically treated landscape water features, swimming ponds and ‘living’ swimming pools. They work with landscape designers, landscape architects and private clients in the UK to provide technical design expertise as part of a design and build package. They recognise that every design and brief is unique and their solutions are based on many years of industry experience and include the most appropriate methods and technology in order to bring a design to life.

Plant nursery Hortus Loci will be providing the plants for the Octavia Hill Garden

Our Plant Supplier

Hortus Loci is a wholesale plant nursery working with landscape architects, garden designers and landscapers. The top 30 European landscape architects regularly use the nursery which is rapidly edging towards having the largest available range of perennials, shrubs, trees, topiary and hedging, most of which are grown on their 17 acre site located in North Hampshire. Their highly-experienced staff work closely with clients every day.

Lincolnshire Pond Plants will be supplying all the aquatic plants for the Octavia Hill Garden

Our Aquatic Plant Supplier

A family-run business this north Lincolnshire-based firm has grown rapidly since David Reynolds established the business with his mother Dawn Fisher and wife Kayleigh in 2016. Now located on a 15-acre former RAF site, acquired in 2021, it has ten employees and sells more than 350 different plants through its website, at shows, at the nursery and via consultancy. Lincolnshire Pond Plants grows plants with attractive foliage and flower, but that also contribute to the health of a pond’s ecosystem and the broader health of the garden.