With a burst of artistic flair, Viking, the award-winning river and ocean cruise line, unveils its garden ahead of the 2019 RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Following the success of Viking’s gold-medal winning wellness garden in 2018, the ‘Art of Viking’ reflects the brand’s Nordic heritage and promises to offer visitors an immersive and culturally enriching experience. This will be Viking’s seventh year at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and fourth year as headline sponsor at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival.
Showcasing a garden in the ‘Space to Grow’ category for the first time, Viking is once again working with RHS gold-medallist Paul Hervey-Brookes, the Gloucestershire-based garden designer, who has a long-standing partnership with the cruise line. The Art of Viking garden – a multi-layered wetland habitat – is reminiscent of a water meadow, open and inviting with multi-stem river birches and winding streams running through the space. A signature feature of all Viking’s RHS gardens, water is a key element of the design.
Paul has taken inspiration for the design, textures, plants and colour palette of the 2019 garden from artwork on board Viking’s newest ocean ship, Viking Orion, including a painting by Norwegian impressionist Jakob Weidemann, ‘Impressions on Nature’, and ceramic plates by Anette Krogstad. The centrepiece of the garden, a unique sculpture created by Paul especially for Viking, exposes, by varying degrees, the landscape beyond. It reflects the sense of curiosity and discovery shared by all of Viking’s guests as well as the fact that travel, quite literally, broadens travellers’ horizons.
Known for offering fascinating cultural experiences across the spectrum of art, history, music and science both on board and on shore, Viking’s elegant, light-filled, Scandinavian-style ships are floating galleries displaying one of the largest private collections of Norwegian art. The collection features pieces by established as well as up-and-coming artists from Edvard Munch and H.M. Queen Sonja of Norway, to Christian Skredsvig and Kåre Tveter. The artwork encompasses a variety of media and styles — from digital to print, oil paintings to photography and sculpture — all handpicked to reflect Viking’s origins and the beauty of nature.
Wendy Atkin-Smith, Managing Director of Viking who has worked closely with Paul on the design of the 2019 garden, said: ‘We chose art as the main theme of our garden for 2019 as it weaves together two aspects of Viking’s heritage – a sense of discovery through travel and art and an appreciation for nature which is deeply engrained in Scandinavian culture. Like all travellers, no matter how far our journeys take us, at Viking we like to remember where we came from. This is why, although our onboard experiences are inspired by our many destinations, our chosen artwork is very much a nod to our Nordic heritage. We like to think these pieces celebrate the traveller as a collector of ideas and experiences, a tradition that dates back to long before the Vikings. We are looking forward to bringing this concept to life at the 2019 RHS Chelsea Flower Show.’
Paul Hervey-Brookes said: ‘I am thrilled to be working with Viking again – I have been lucky enough to experience their river and ocean cruises and the whole ethos of the brand, not to mention its design aesthetic, is very much in-keeping with my own. I was overwhelmed by the incredible art collection on board Viking’s ocean ships, so it was not hard to find inspiration for the 2019 garden. In fact, Jakob Weidemann has always been one of my favourite artists so imagine how excited I was to see an original painting by him on Viking Orion. The Art of Viking garden offers the opportunity to take a space everyone can relate to and provide inspiration beyond the obvious or normal layout of a garden.’
The Art of Viking garden, which will be built by Big Fish Landscapes, will feature materials supplied by the Breedon Group – the largest independent construction materials group in the UK – and plants grown by specialists at Jekka’s Herb Farm and Bernhards Nurseries. Chosen for their connections to Scandinavia, key plants featured in the Art of Viking garden include Salix ‘Nancy Saunders’, Angelica archangelica, Juncus ‘Carmans Grey’, Myrica gale and Symphytum caucasicum.
Paul, a regular contributor to a variety of magazines, podcasts and radio programmes, will be on board Viking’s Mediterranean Odyssey cruise that sets sail on 18 October, to give a series of guest lectures on plants and horticulture in the region. The cruise visits some of the Mediterranean’s most historic ports including Dubrovnik, the fabled towns of Tuscany, ancient Rome and canal-laced Venice, lively Barcelona and the jewels of the French Riviera including Monte Carlo and Marseille.
To make a booking or for more information, please go to www.vikingcruises.co.uk or call 0800 319 66 60.
The Art of Viking garden at 2019 RHS Chelsea Flower Show will be showcased from 21 – 25 May 2019 – Plot: RHW/285