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“We are delighted to be back at RHS Chelsea this year with The Brewin Dolphin Garden. Paul has designed such a thoughtful garden that demonstrates how even the most urban of sites can be transformed in a low impact way for the benefit of the environment"

Rupert Tyler, Business Development Director Brewin Dolphin

Key Plants 

The Brewin Dolphin garden is planted using a rich mixture of plants which are suitable for sites where heavy industry has taken place or the soils are contaminated from heavy pollutants over the cause of years.  Nature has the tools needed to repair the damage and our garden shows they can be used successfully to also create a beautiful and diverse planting design.

Pioneer species

These plants form the backbone of the planting, these plants have evolved to colonise soils and sites which are barren,  Their tolerance of poor sub-soils and often exposed sites allows them to begin the process of rehabilitating the soil, allowing microorganisms in and to trap particles int he air to build a new top soil layer.

  • Persicaria campanulata ‘Alba’

  • Carex pendula

  • Euonymus alatus

  • Dryopteris afffinis

  • Betula pendula

  • Urtica dioica

  • Galium odoratum

  • Viburnum opulus

Air Filtration Plants

Plants which are adapted to either absorb C02 in the air at higher rates than other potential plant selections and plants which are adapted to filter and trap air/rain borne pollutants demonstrate the importance of plant selection for all gardens. In urban areas and built up towns selecting plants more adapted to the demands of our urban infrastructure and mitigating the impact we have on the planet can have a huge impact on CO2 emissions, relieve respiratory conditions and improve habitat potential. 

Another important factor which will encourage many to plant trees and other plants is that alongside improving air quality locking away carbon and other harmful gases these plants will reduce the ‘heat pocket’ effect of large urban areas.


Super anti-smog trees can have impressive benefits within a measured period of just 20 years, given many will live for well over 100 years these trees captured up to 4000 kilos of CO2 and stopped the spread of clouds of thin PM10 dust. 

PM10 refers to the particulate matter, 10 micrometers or less in diameter, PM2.5 is particulate matter 2.5 micrometers or less in diameter. As a  of comparison, a human hair is about 100 micrometres, so roughly 40 fine particles could be placed on its width.  Health effects may include cardiovascular effects such as cardiac arrhythmias and heart attacks, and respiratory effects such as asthma attacks and bronchitis.  The size of particles is directly linked to their potential for causing health problems

Betula pendula - Silver Birch

The silver birch is able to grow in most difficult conditions. Celts and old German tribes considered it as a 'holy tree' silver birch is capable of absorbing up to 3100 kilos of CO2 to clean the air.

Alongside trees for those with smaller gardens the rule is pretty simple, small leaved plants and particularly those with leaves which are rough or hairy are perfect for trapping air and making absorption of CO2 easier, our garden will use this research to help us select the plants most beneficial to cleaning the air.

Key Materials

Our aim is to create the fabric or built form of the garden using recycled materials,  The garden is planned as a space already defined by the fabric of pre-existing buildings and semi-demobilised form.  Although the new owners have cleaned and restored these buildings for new use we want to create them from a mixture of recycled elements to bring that story to life.  We will be using recycled concrete, bricks and other architectural salvage.  


The new elements, such as paving and dressing that the owners have chosen are all either completely recycled, repurposed or made from recycled components.  

Recycled aggregates

One of our key materials will be Breedon Group'd Recycled ​Aggregate, Breedon Group reclaim and re-sue over 1 million tonnes of recycled aggregate based material each year.

Plant List:

Campanula ‘Pritchard's Variety’

Allium schoenoprasm

Sanguisorba ‘Gangshan Cranberry’

Melica altissima purpurea

Myrrhis odorata

Cymbalaria muralis

Cenolophium denudatum

Fragaria versa

Euphurbia robbiae

Artemisa vulgans

Verbascum bombyciferum

Dipsacus fulioum

Angelica pachycarpa

Origanum vulgate

Carex Pendula

Rumex acetosa

Valeriana pyrenaica

Abthriscus sylvestris

Persicaria bistorta

Alchemilla erythropoda

Symphytum ‘Wisley Blue’

Milium effusum aureum

Lychnis fos-cuculi ‘Alba’

Lychnis fis-cuculi 

Carex kyoto

Hakonechloa macra

Dryopteris aff. Cristata ‘The King’

Drtopteris affinis

Drytoperis erythrosora

Hosta ‘Blue Cadet’

Hosta ‘Francee’

Hosta ‘Devon Green’

Hosta ‘Royal Standard’

Lamium orvala

Lamiun mac. ‘White Nancy’

Alchemilla alpina

Symphytum ‘Goldsmith’

Urtica dioca

Lamium alba

Viburnum opulus

Campanula pyramidalis

Geranium dusky crug

Sanguisorba minor

Sanguisorba armena

Calamagrostis brachytrica

Dryopteris affina

Blechnum spicant

Asplenium scolopendrium

Anthriscus ravenswing

Campanula sarastro

Epermedium grand. ‘Rose Queen’

Leucanthemum vul. ‘Maikonigin’

Digitalis officinalis

Matteuccia struithiopteris

Cirsium rivulare

Geranium ‘Espresso’

Saxifraga paniculata Lutea

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