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Cumbrian carpenter works on the Duchess of Cambridge’s RHS Back to Nature Garden

Prince Louis walks RHS Chelsea Back to Nature Garden walkway C Matt Porteous

YOUNG local craftsman Jonny Briggs created the woodland walkway for the RHS Back to Nature Garden at world-famous RHS Chelsea Flower Show which is on display this week, until Saturday 25 May 2019. The garden was co-designed by HRH The Duchess of Cambridge and landscape architects Andrée Davies and Adam White of Davies White Ltd.

The walkway has enabled thousands of visitors to enjoy the garden already and the first feet to step onto it were very little; those of Prince Louis, Prince George and Princess Charlotte.

The RHS Back to Nature Garden C RHS & Neil Hepworth

The garden is inspired by memories of time in the outdoors, in nature. The reclaimed timber walkway crafted by Jonny weaves through the garden past a hollow fallen log, waterfall, stream, and huge wild looking treehouse. Over 20 huge trees and 2000 woodland plants frame the setting.

After a personal recommendation from HRH Prince Charles, Jonny was one of the first people to work on the project. As with the other elements of the garden, the boardwalk was designed to blend into its natural surroundings. Jonny used 170 reclaimed timber deck boards with a natural weather beaten finish from Southend Pier, provided by Ashwell Recycled Timber Ltd. The framework and the boards were made in Cumbria, before being transported to the RHS site.

Jonny Briggs Carpentry C Dumfries House

“Chelsea Flower Show has been on my career bucket list since I started, so when I was asked to be part of the garden I jumped at the chance. I like the feel of this garden. It’s a place that everybody can relate to, with a very important message” says Jonny.

Landscape Architects Andrée Davies and Adam White said “We were delighted to involve Jonny Briggs in the RHS Back to Nature garden. His attention to detail and superb craftsmanship really added somethings special to the garden. Jonny’s contribution helped create a garden which has hopefully encouraged more families to get outdoors to play, explore, grow plants and connect with nature”

The RHS Back to Nature Garden is part of the RHS’s partnership with NHS England, which promotes the physical and emotional wellbeing that access to green spaces and gardening provides. After Chelsea, some of the planting will go to an NHS Mental Health Trust, as part of a national competition run by the RHS.

Jonny started his wood working career with an apprenticeship in site carpentry but after the recession hit, soon realised he needed to specialise. The Princes Foundation offered him a 9 month apprenticeship in traditional timber framing, which involved structural repairs to historic buildings and allowed him to learn the processes involved with managing projects. He now runs his own business, Jonny Briggs, specialising in oak framed buildings, bridges, landscape structures and joinery components.

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