United Utilities partners with RHS at new Bridgewater Garden

RHS Bridgewater Paradise Garden

  • Research will help benchmark SuDS and rainwater harvesting
  • Tatton Show garden explores theme of resilience
  • Play garden and education outreach brings sustainability to next generation of gardeners

The much-anticipated RHS Garden Bridgewater opened in Salford this week, exploring the themes of sustainability, resilience and water efficiency.

It is the first RHS Garden to open in North West England and water company United Utilities has entered into a three-year partnership with the RHS at the exciting new development.

The partnership includes a research project to monitor the effectiveness of rainwater harvesting and sustainable urban drainage, education and outreach through site signage and school visit programmes and the creation of a resilience show garden.

Jo Harrison is Environmental Planning and Innovation Director at United Utilities and she explained why the firm was keen to support the garden: “Climate resilience is one of the biggest challenges facing all of us and water availability is a key area where we need to adapt. We were thrilled that the RHS shares the same view and we could see that this was an ideal opportunity to work together and increase our understanding of how to deal with too much or too little rain.

“This will be the first urban RHS Garden and it provides a fantastic chance to pilot adaptations that might one day influence the way our buildings and gardens are designed in the future. We’re very excited to be involved in a research project that will monitor the performance of the rainwater harvesting and sustainable drainage systems at the site.”

As part of United Utilities’ partnership with RHS Garden Bridgewater, the company is also designing a garden for the Tatton Park Flower Show in July 2021. The garden, based on the theme of Resilience, will be permanently relocated to Bridgewater after the show.

It is hoped the show garden will provide water efficiency inspiration for up to 8 million potential visitors who live within one hour of the site.

Marcus Chilton-Jones, Curator at RHS Garden Bridgewater, said: “Even before RHS Garden Bridgewater opened to the public we have seen how extremes of heavy rain and drought can affect the garden, and we have had to rise to the challenge this poses for a garden of this scale. But understanding how to manage water in the garden is essential knowledge for every gardener, no matter what size their plot, and we hope to show how many of the techniques used at RHS Garden Bridgewater can be adapted to use at home. We are delighted to bring together the expertise of the RHS and United Utilities on this project that will help millions more people and their gardens to grow and flourish sustainably.”