Garden Design


Chris Beardshaw Designs The Morgan Stanley Garden for Great Ormond Street Hospital

Chris Beardshaw Designs The Morgan Stanley Garden for Great Ormond Street Hospital

“One of the most significant and poignant gardens of my career” is how plantsman and designer Chris Beardshaw has described The Morgan Stanley Garden for Great Ormond Street Hospital, which will feature at RHS Chelsea Flower Show, 2016.

The enclosed, courtyard style garden has been resourcefully designed by Chris to work both as a show garden and as a permanent garden scheme. The new garden for Great Ormond Street Hospital will provide a much needed, private and reflective space for parents and families of the children undergoing care and will appear at RHS Chelsea Flower Show prior to being completed at the hospital in summer 2016.

Morgan Stanley’s sponsorship of the Garden for Great Ormond Street Hospital at RHS Chelsea Flower Show is part of the company’s Global Alliance for Children’s Health, which goes back more than 40 years.

Since 2007, Morgan Stanley has raised over £12m through corporate donations and employee fundraising for Great Ormond Street Hospital. Specifically, in 2012, The Morgan Stanley Clinical Building opened providing state-of-the-art operating theatres, modern heart and lung, kidney and neurosciences centres and inpatient wards for children with acute and chronic conditions.

Adding to the legacy of Morgan Stanley’s support for Great Ormond Street Hospital, the firm’s latest corporate fundraising activities are focused on raising £1.5 million over the next two years, to help the development of Morgan Stanley House, which will provide vital parent accommodation close to the hospital to help ensure that families can be close to their children during the most critical times.

The Show Garden will be replanted at the heart of the hospital in a location almost completely enclosed by buildings. This restricts the amount of direct sunlight into the garden, providing added challenges for the plant life.

The enclosed nature of the hospital site has shaped and informed the planting and schematics for the garden. Chris will predominately work with woodland species to create a rich, green and verdant contrast to the buildings surrounding it. Sprinkled amongst this will be pockets of sparkling colourful planting, which will burst through the tree canopy or the perennial understory, highlighting the effervescence and optimism of childhood.

Chris Beardshaw said, “These lushly planted areas will feature some species of plants which only open when hit by direct sunlight which, in the final relocated garden at Great Ormond Street Hospital, will be for brief periods of time. Consequently these plants will provide a fleeting and emotional response for those who happen to be there to witness them.”

“The garden also contains a reflective water feature, running the length of the garden which will showcase a number of specially commissioned artworks.”

The main structure at the head of the garden was inspired by a Japanese Azumaya pavilion, which Chris has designed in three interlocking sections. Each section frames views of the garden, while masking out the visual interference from the buildings around it.

Chris adds, “We want this garden to play an important role in supporting the families of the children at the hospital and I feel very strongly that this garden has to work for them. That makes it, to my mind, one of the most important projects of my career.”

To gain design inspiration for the garden, Chris and his project team met with clinicians and some of the children being treated at the hospital. Commenting, Chris said, “I was struck by the honest and open relationships between the three key parties at the hospital - the children, the clinicians and the parents. Although it’s naturally upsetting to think of children requiring any medical treatment, our visit to the hospital was hugely inspirational and extremely positive in many ways. That important three-way partnership has formed the backbone of the triptych design for the garden. The formality of the essentially geometric lines are interrupted by the repeated theme of circles, which for me symbolise eternity and the unique perfection of a child.”

“The team at Great Ormond Street Hospital advised us that there is a real need for an outside space for parents to find a little respite from the intensity of the wards. It needs to be somewhere which is only a few minutes away from their children, but which provides a restful space for them to sit and be reflective and to gain some perspective. The Garden will also provide an area for clinicians to sit and talk privately with parents away from the busy wards.”

This garden is the second Show Garden Chris has designed for Morgan Stanley. In 2015, the firm asked Chris to create a garden which, after Chelsea, went on to provide the centrepiece for a highly successful community garden in Poplar, in East End of London, as part of the Morgan Stanley’s Healthy Cities Initiative.

Colm Kelleher, President of Institutional Securities and CEO, Morgan Stanley International, said, “Morgan Stanley has a longstanding partnership with Great Ormond Street Hospital and so we are very excited to be involved in delivering a garden which will make a real difference to the lives of patients and their families at the hospital. We are also delighted to be working with Chris Beardshaw again. As he proved with the Morgan Stanley Healthy Cities Garden there is no-one better qualified to design a garden that will not only be a fantastic show garden at Chelsea, but will also make a real difference to its permanent home.”

Tim Johnson, Chief Executive, Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity, said: “We are extremely grateful to Morgan Stanley and Chris Beardshaw for working with us to create this amazing garden for Great Ormond Street Hospital. Being located in central London, green space is precious so this garden will make a real difference for families of children in our care, providing a quiet, reflective space for patients, parents, carers and staff. After many months of research and planning, we are delighted with Chris’s design and are excited to see the garden brought to life.

More detailed plans about this complex garden project will be released in the coming months. It is planned to hold a group press tours to view the garden’s site at Great Ormond Street Hospital in the New Year.

For more information on Morgan Stanley’s partnership with Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity, please visit

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