The Parsley Box Garden at Chelsea 2021 is challenging ageing stereotypes

·4-min read
Photo credit: Parsley Box| RHS |  Alan Williams
Photo credit: Parsley Box| RHS | Alan Williams

The Chelsea Flower Show 2021 has some fabulous floral displays in the pipeline, including Parsley Box's first ever Artisan Garden created by first-time Chelsea designer, Alan Williams.

The contemporary Parsley Box Garden, which will offer inspiration on how to cook and socialise within small spaces, aims to challenge the stereotype of ageing. Centralised around a custom-made outdoor kitchen, the garden has a wooden cantilevered pergola stretched over a Dutch oval dining table and tiered planters constructed in age brass.

"Our Artisan Garden at Chelsea is both a celebration of good food and of a good life," Adrienne Macaulay, co-founder and chief product officer of Parsley Box, says. "We want it to smash the stereotypical views held about the over 60s. They are the original rule breakers, they paved our way and we want to celebrate them with this garden.

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"As we advance in years we don't stop wanting what we enjoyed as our younger selves. The garden will represent that with a modern twist on a traditional kitchen garden for the imagined owner to savour flavour, forage, preserve the fruits of their labour and entertain friends in."

Here's everything we know about the design so far...

The Parsley Box Garden 2021: design features

The aim of the Parsley Box Garden is to create a space where visitors can dine, relax and find inspiration for their own kitchen. Sponsored by Parsley Box — famous their cupboard-stored ready meals — the garden represents the vitality of its customers.

Designer Alan Williams will create a fresh and contemporary feel, focusing on conserving nature's bounty through fermentation and preservation. In a 6m x 8m space, it's inspired by award-winning Nordic restaurant, Noma, and has self-sustainability at its heart.

Brimming with edible treats, it will be jam-packed with fragrant herbs, edible flowers, perennials, espalier fruit trees and homegrown vegetables, too. Flowers at the garden will spill from tiered planters, which will be accessible to all generations.

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The materials and textures have been carefully selected to spark conversation around ageing, with reclaimed wood hinting at the fluidity of changes in identity throughout life and contemporary slick concrete structures referencing the stability of firm foundations.

"It's a privilege to be creating a vision of so much more than a place to eat and drink," Alan says. "This garden is a statement about the freshness and vitality that we all carry within us and while the body might age, the essence of who we are remains as constant as the seasons. I hope my energetic vision opens a space for conversations about celebrating life at every stage in all its vivid colour."

The design features include:

  • Reclaimed wood

  • Fragrant herbs

  • Edible flowers

  • Perennials

  • Vegetables

  • Fruit trees including Arbutus Unedo, Malus Evereste and Cornus Kousa

What will happen to the flowers at the Parsley Box Garden?

While the team are yet to make a decision on where the plants and flowers will go, one thing they are keen to do is reuse, recycle and repurpose them.

"We intend to give the champion grown fruit and veg to a local charity in need, such as a Food Bank. If, however, they don't want show produce, we will share them with members of the public in the Sunday sell-off for people to eat or grow on at home," the team tell Country Living.

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Where can you see the Parsley Box Garden?

The Parsley Box Garden will be situated in Ranelagh gardens, at the top end of the Chelsea Flower Show. If you are unable to book a ticket but still want to see the gorgeous garden for yourself, you'll be pleased to know that the team will be live-streaming during the show so people can watch the flower arranging at home. Keep an eye on their website for more information.

Who is Alan Williams?

Photo credit: Lynn Keddie
Photo credit: Lynn Keddie

Garden designer Alan Williams started his career as an interior designer, but made the leap to the exciting world of gardening 10 years ago. With a passion for creating elegant spaces that surprise and delight, Alan has worked on three gold medal-winning Show Gardens and received his first Gold and Best in Show at the RHS Malvern Spring Festival in 2018.

Alan is also a trained florist, previously helping to dress the stages of various RHS shows including RHS Malvern Spring Festival and RHS Hampton Court Garden Festival.

Who are Parsley Box?

Founded by Gordon and Adrienne MacAulay in 2017, Parsley Box provides quick, simple and nutritious ready meals with a shelf life of up to six months (they don't need to go in the fridge). With a focus on the Baby Boomer generation (those born between 1946 and 1964), it has a mission to champion and empower the over 60s.

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