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Bringing Bridgerton to life: Netflix unveils themed garden at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2024

by | 07 May 24 | Garden Design, Long Reads, News | 0 comments

From Shondaland, Netflix’s hit Bridgerton has become one of the most popular series on the platform. The first season alone has racked up 113.3 million views, making it the fourth most watched show on Netflix.  

It follows the powerful Bridgerton family as the late Viscount’s children make their debut onto Regency London’s competitive marriage market as they hope to follow in their parent’s footsteps and find a match sparked by true love. Each series follows a particular member of the family as they overcome the trials and tribulations of society, not to mention the high society scandal sheet written by the mysterious Lady Whistledown.  

The third season – the first part of which is due for release on 16 May – follows the story of Colin Bridgerton as he returns from his worldwide travels to discover that there may just be more than friendship brewing between his lord and wallflower Penelope Featherington. 

Set in a period where fashion, architecture, and style were quickly developing, Bridgerton’s set, and garden designs are extravagant and polished to say the least. So, to coincide with the release of the next season, Netflix has teamed up with garden designer Holly Johnston to unveil The Bridgerton Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2024.  

Garden designer, Holly Johnston

“I loved the idea that I could tell a narrative of this young woman and bring in influences from this notion of disenchantment and whimsy,” says Johnston. “The storyline is obviously really beloved, and this season in particular has two love interests that fans are very connected to, so to be able to create a garden that can bring to life this story, transport you into this time period, is just magical.” 

Growing up in New Zealand on farms and orchards, Johnston had a long and winding path to her career in horticulture. 

“I grew up surrounded by kiwi fruit and avocado orchards, very much in the countryside in New Zealand, but moved to New York for university as a competitive rower.” 

She had always had a creative side, being a storyteller, painter, and sculptor, and 10 years later moved to the UK, setting up her garden design business just last year. Now based in London, Johnston’s ready to take on the challenge of recreating the story of Bridgeton through her Chelsea show garden. 

“The partnership with Netflix has been wonderful,” says Johnston. “They had a couple of key messages that they wanted to see reflected in the garden; for instance, this idea of Penelope’s journey in season three and how her character is developing. 

“But they’ve kind of handed the reins over to me knowing that I have expertise and they have allowed me to bring the vision to life based on the story that I’ve been told.” 

Broken into chapters, visitors will enter the garden to discover the moon gate, with beautiful silver birches branching either side, before walking into a sunken seating area that is surrounded by a dry stone wall to echo the full circle that the character’s story follows.  

The planting is designed to represent duality of character – on the shade border, represents the secrets the character holds, while the full bloom border represents her growing confidence. The strong geometric design balances with the informal loose planting 

In the centre of the garden will lie a delicate three-tier reclaimed fountain whilst standing strong in the background of the seating is also an ornate hand carved water fountain, “and this is really where you will see the planting change,” says Johnston.  

“The idea is that you’d walk down along the right-hand side of the garden, which is the hedge running all the way to the end and is very shaded to represent a kind of tapestry of secrets and is a metaphor for the hidden truths of the main characters as they continue to struggle with the lies that restrict them and the power they hold.”

Moss, ferns, grasses, and ivy twisting up the trees will continue this theme of secrets lying in plain sight before circling back to the left hand side of the garden where the light will fill the space and the path will evolve into a kind of sophisticated palette of blues, purples, and pinks. 

“There is going to be an abundance of irises, roses, and geraniums to show the growth and blooming of the characters, representative of their journey and the way that they find their way out of the darkness and into the light,” says Johnston.  

“It will be really interesting to see people’s reactions, especially as it is quite an intense and very interesting storyline that will be unveiled in season three.”

Hoping that the garden will present a sense of place for both fans of the series and for those struggling with their own identity, Johnston is eager to showcase her telling of the story through this Chelsea show garden. 

 

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