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Hampton Court Flower Show with Jack Dunckley

Jack Dunckley is 21 and on a meteoric rise to garden design stardom.

He has already secured a host of medals including silver-gilt at RHS Chelsea in 2013 and

RHS Hampton Court in 2012.

Jack will be back at Hampton Court next week and, with a little help from Tunbridge Wells-

based Chilstone, is hoping to be one of the youngest designers to scoop gold.

The subject matter of his garden is not the easiest for a 20-something but Jack is pleased 

with the results. He said: “I am excited to be back at Hampton Court and really proud of The Just Retirement; The Journey Through Retirement garden.Imaginative 

Jack Dunckley
Jack Dunckley

“It’s true, retirement is not something that’s at the forefront of my mind, so it’s been a challenge making sure the three stages in the garden – youth, maturity and retirement – symbolise and capture the individual moments in time.

“I’m hoping the variety of tranquil plants, in particular lavender and echinacea, raised 

borders, custom-made Chilstone panels and the pavilion will illustrate these key life stages to visitors and they will be able to relax and take in the senses that the garden stimulates.”

Jack, who runs his own nursery and design business, just over the border in Sussex, has the largest show garden at Hampton Court, measuring 20m x 8m and it is the only one to offer a 360-degree view.

Jack said: “The Just Retirement Garden is next to the Allium restaurant so my tip is to grab a table upstairs so you get a really good view.”

“The garden is a rectangle, planted in a formal, contemporary style - I am not really onefor curves!

“The path is lined with lavender and there is echinacea, artemisia and salvia in the borders – very calming.”

Defining the outside of the border is a clipped yew hedge to give formality and Jack’s signature symmetry.

Bespoke Chilstone panels are incorporate well into the design which add sophistication to the garden and allow for separation, adding an aperture for people on the outside to get a glimpse though to the main part of the garden.

Jack said: “I am really pleased to work with Chilstone. Everything is bespoke and the high 

quality - we do complement each other.

Chilstone, at Langton Green, near Tunbridge Wells, manufactures architecutural cast stone 

from balustrading to ornaments, columns and bespoke pieces for the public as well as garden designers.

Steve Clark, of Chilstone, said: “We have been working with Jack for a few years now. Jack is a great young talent who really knows his plants. His horticultural and landscaping knowledge is phenomenal.

'Jack is a great young talent who really knows his plants. His horticultural and landscaping knowledge is phenomenal.'

“We supply a growing number of high-end new-build properties and gardens in Kent and Jack designs gardens for lots of well-known clients and so it is a great match. We love working with him.”

As the garden progresses from youth, to maturity to retirement, Jack has created an the inner section where the borders become raised, making any gardening more accessible and two large magnolia grandiflora frame the pavilion providing scale and drama.

Visitors will be drawn towards the pavilion at the end of the garden, where once inside, they will have the chance to relax and enjoy two short films on how the garden was built.

Jack, who with his parents ‘scraped together’ the cash to buy a rundown six-acre nursery a few years ago, has now developed Birchfield Nursery in Henfield, West Sussex, into a thriving business.

He said: “I’ve really had to work for everything I have. It leaves me little time to do anything, else, well, except call in to the local pub.”

He said: “It is hard graft at this stage, starting up and building a solid customer base but I have lots of plans there is a new building under way at BIrchfield to house a lecture theatre, library, café and design studio.”

It seems there is no stopping Jack Dunckley. Watch this space!

RHS Hampton Flower Show runs from July 8-13.

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