Maggie's at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Monday 15 May

Maggie's at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show

We are very excited to be bringing our first Show Garden to RHS Chelsea with global law firm Linklaters and garden designer Darren Hawkes. 

The “Linklaters Garden for Maggie’s” was inspired by the vision of our co-founder Maggie Keswick Jencks, who understood the need for people with cancer to have access to restorative, tranquil green spaces away from more clinical hospital environments.

Award-winning garden designer Darren Hawkes will create a peaceful, secret garden, enveloped in a three-metre high hornbeam hedge, that can be glimpsed through beautifully crafted wooden gates and wide slots in the perimeter hedge, before being fully revealed from a uniquely elevated position at the back of the site. The encircled garden will provide an exciting, unconventional space, one that is tranquil, yet engaging.

I wanted to design a garden that had a real sense of enclosure, care and security, whilst at the same time creating an enticing space that provoked curiosity. 

I know from talking to the team at Maggie’s that for many cancer patients the biggest challenge is taking the first steps over the threshold at a Maggie’s Centre. The garden reflects this in different ways; the subtle curves of the steamed oak gates that will always be open and welcoming and the gaps within the hedge allowing visitors to glimpse what lies inside before entering.

Darren Hawkes

A two-metre wide maze-like path will run alongside and behind the garden giving visitors the opportunity to walk within the garden boundary looking into the garden below. 

<p">Several of the garden’s key features will come from a single cuboid of basalt concrete, broken apart to form concrete paving, benches, a garden building and a water feature, that can be reassembled as a single mass. These elements will demonstrate how life can be put back together again when it has been blown apart following a diagnosis of cancer.

The streamline use of a single landscape material in the garden has been designed to maintain the feeling of serenity in the garden and to reflect the same economy of resources that is apparent at the 19 existing Maggie’s Centres around the country. 

The concrete will be treated with bespoke finishes throughout the garden with crushed concrete at ground level complimenting highly polished and acid-etched features for the concrete building, benches and water feature.


Legacy garden

Beyond the show, plants and other elements of the Chelsea garden will be used to create a garden for our new Centre currently under construction at London’s Barts Hospital.

The new garden, which has also been designed by Darren Hawkes, will have the same sense of enclosure and stillness as the Chelsea garden and provide a lasting legacy when it opens later this year.

The importance of the supportive environment that Maggie’s Centres provide cannot be overstated at a time when up to 80 people a day receive a cancer diagnosis.

The garden at RHS Chelsea reflects the importance of design in providing these environments and we are delighted to be involved in this and in partnering with such a worthwhile charity.

What really excites me about the project is the lasting legacy and pleasure that the garden will provide at the new centre at Barts Hospital.

Nicola Rabson, partner at Linklaters


The delicate, feminine planting will juxtapose with the harsh brutality of the concrete elements and bring a layer of scent and serenity to the garden.

Under the canopy of a huge Amalanchier will nestle Hostas, Rodgersias, Thalictrum and Peonies. In addition, the open spaces will be filled with Roses, Box, Elder and Iris.

The planting palette is soft and fragile with shades of pink set against the lavender and grey-green hues of the foliage.


We are so pleased to be partnering with Linklaters and Darren Hawkes on the Maggie’s Chelsea Garden and thank them for their support.

At Maggie’s we carefully consider the outdoor spaces, gardens and views at our Centres and know that our staff and visitors alike feel that the gardens contribute to the overall healing environment.

Each Centre garden is carefully created to be a welcoming extension of the inside space so it is also fantastic that the plants from this garden will go to creating the garden at our new Centre at Barts.

Laura Lee, Maggie’s CEO

This will be the first RHS Chelsea garden for both Linklaters and Maggie’s and the third Chelsea garden that Darren Hawkes has created for the show.  

Maggie’s reputation for commissioning world-class architecture and working with some of the UK’s most respected landscape and garden designers on their Centres is second to none.

I’m so proud to be working on the Chelsea garden and working alongside architect Steven Holl on the new Maggie’s Centre at Barts Hospital. Both projects would not have been made possible without the vision, support and generosity of Linklaters.

Darren Hawkes