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Silver for Cornish designer of the Fauna & Flora Garden at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2023

Cornish based garden designer, Jilayne Rickards, is celebrating winning a silver medal at RHS Chelsea Flower Show for the Fauna & Flora Garden. 

Fauna & Flora

Fauna & Flora

Fauna & Flora

The garden will be heading straight to Cornwall when the show ends, to its new home in the Eden Project’s Rainforest Biome. 

Highlighting the collaborative conservation work of Fauna & Flora, an international nature conservation charity, the Fauna & Flora Garden - which is generously sponsored by Project Giving Back - focuses on the spectacular Afromontane landscape of Central Africa along with its much-loved inhabitant, the mountain gorilla. 

Designer, Jilayne commented: “This is a fantastic result, and I am very proud to have been able to bring the vital work of Fauna & Flora to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Our aim with the garden is to help people better understand the importance of protecting nature around the world, and how this can be best achieved through collaborative conservation efforts.” 

Jilayne, who grew up in Cornwall, has been designing and creating gardens for more than 20 years and made her show garden debut at the 2019 RHS Chelsea Flower Show with the CAMFED Garden, which won gold and the BBC/RHS People’s Choice Award.   

Many of the plants have been grown in Cornwall, nurtured by the highly skilled horticulturists at the Eden Project.  The native African plants, that make up the majority of the 3,000 plants that feature in the garden, will then return to the warmth of the Project’s Rainforest Biome, to educate and inspire approximately one million annual visitors. 

Catherine Cutler, Interim Head of Living Landscapes from Eden Project, said: “We are thrilled to hear that the Fauna & Flora Garden has been awarded a silver medal. We have worked closely with Jilayne and the team from start to finish, growing, nurturing and planting a good deal of the plants that are currently on view in the garden. We are especially looking forward to welcoming the garden to its new home, after the show, in our Rainforest Biome.” 

In 1978, following a personal plea from its vice president, Sir David Attenborough, Fauna & Flora helped to establish the Mountain Gorilla Project. Forty-five years on, now known as the International Gorilla Conservation Programme (IGCP), the project is a shining example of how community-focused, collaborative conservation can benefit both people and nature.  Mountain gorilla numbers have increased to more than 1,000 since work began, and the livelihoods of people living closest to the gorilla habitat have improved thanks to the ecotourism that the gorillas attract.  

The Fauna & Flora Garden portrays this story by recreating the journey of an ecotourist on a gorilla trek, tracing a rough track through a succession of lush and changing landscapes. The path eventually leads to a gorilla nest – set among bamboo and other typical gorilla food plants – and a towering waterfall, 5.5 metres high.  

Cath Lawson, Senior Programme Manager, Eastern Africa, Fauna & Flora said: “Winning silver at RHS Chelsea is a wonderful culmination of a fantastic journey and a fitting reward for all the effort that everyone involved has dedicated to bringing this garden to life. We’d like to thank Project Giving Back for giving us the opportunity to profile the vital work of this project, demonstrating that protecting nature through community-led collaboration can yield outstanding results.” 

From inception, creating as sustainable a garden as possible, was a priority.  Designer, Jilayne, worked closely with award-winning contractor, Tecwyn Evans, of Living Landscapes, to ensure that the garden met this precedence.  

Jilayne added: “We want this garden to inspire people to think differently; embolden them to reuse and recycle, to increase the biodiversity of their gardens by leaving wild areas, and garden more sustainably using planet-friendly practices.” 

Suppliers were thoroughly researched and the carbon footprint of all materials was considered, including location and whether recycled alternatives were available. Entirely cement and concrete free, the garden features minimal hard landscaping, increasing areas of planting and generating a positive effect on biodiversity.   

The boulders, a waste product from agricultural farming, will be returned to the supplier post-show and reused on other projects. The recycled topsoil in the garden is peat free and the majority of plants are UK grown (at the Eden Project) chemical free, in peat free soil, recycled or recyclable pots.   

To find out more about Fauna & Flora and its work to protect threatened wildlife and habitats across the world, please visit:  

Please vote for the Fauna & Flora Garden in the BBC/RHS People’s Choice Award. Visit HERE to vote. Voting opens at 7pm on Wednesday 24th May and closes at 7pm on Thursday 25th May.