Royal Porcelain Works Ltd: The Collectors Garden by Olivia Kirk


Garden Award: Silver-Gilt

Designer: Olivia Kirk

Sponsor: Royal Porcelain Works Ltd

Contractor: Big Fish Landscapes

The garden has been designed to celebrate the opening of the re-developed Royal Porcelain Works in Worcester, linking the Victorian heritage of the site and its new future as a centre for the performing arts alongside the existing Museum of Royal Worcester.

The garden is a journey through time using a series of 'exhibition spaces'. The planting celebrates the range of material introduced into the UK by Victorian plant hunters through the Horticultural Society (later the RHS) and the way modern cultivars from these plants & more recent collecting expeditions are used in our gardens and homes today.

There are five stone 'exhibition' plinths through the garden, 2 plinths carry bespoke terrariums based on The Wardian Case and three display historic porcelain pieces beneath glass bell jars. The planting surrounding the bell jar plinths includes flowers and foliage that inspired the artists who hand painted the Royal Worcester pieces.

Five Key Plants in the Garden

  • Magnolia stellata introduced by Robert Fortune from Japan in 1840s
  • Nandina domestica introduced by William Kerr from China in 1804
  • Viburnum plicatum introduced by John Reeves Senior from China in 1820s
  • Nandina domestica 'Filamentosa' modern cultivar of William Kerr's introduction
  • Pittosporum illicioides v angustifolium introduced in 2007 by Crug Farm Plants from Taiwan

About the Designer

Olivia Kirk is an experienced landscape and garden designer who specialises in creating healing gardens.  Based in Herefordshire she has a project portfolio of public and private schemes all around the UK as well as a number of high-profile show gardens to her name. She was awarded an RHS Chelsea Gold medal in 2011 for her ‘Power of Nature’ Garden and her most recent garden at Chelsea for The WellChild Charity won a Silver Gilt.  She is a regular tutor for The London College of Garden Design based at Kew.