Cleve West to use Memory of Ancient Oak Woodland as Inspiration for M&G at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2016


  • Twice winner of Best Show and eight RHS Gold Medals returns to design The M&G Garden for a second time. 

10 November, 2015: M&G Investments, the title sponsor of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show since 2010 and a leading international asset manager, has commissioned award-winning Cleve West as its garden designer for a second time.

The inspiration for the 2016 M&G Garden is the moment that Cleve fell in love with the timeless rugged landscape of South West England.

Cleve has tapped into his memories of teenage beguilement with the rocks and woods of Exmoor. The design will pay a contemporary homage to the landscape that made such an early impression on Cleve.

The centrepiece of the garden is a sunken terrace and pool in grey sandstone, sourced from the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire. Edges are sharp and the layout geometric, the essence of modern design. 

The garden will feature a stone and gravel path through woodland edge planting, leading past stunted oaks and rocks to a smoother path. The path, a metaphor for the designer’s own journey into garden design, starts with rough stone and gravel becoming smoother with sawn stone towards the sunken, ‘designed' space.  

The oak-woodland inspired garden will feature up to seven trees and other planting including shrubs, perennials, grasses, ferns, bulbs and annuals. Key planned flora include: Downy Oak (Quercus pubescens), Honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum), Blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum), Whortleberry (Vaccinium myrtillus), Golden Columbine (Aquilegia chrysantha), Brook Thistle (Cirsium atropurpureum), Mountain Cranesbill (Geranium pyrenaicum Bill Wallis), Siberian Flag (Iris sibirica) and Wild Strawberry (Fragaria vesca).

Cleve West, garden designer says:

“I am extremely happy to be working with M&G Investments for a second time. For the 2016 garden, I am seeking to capture that moment in my youth when I was first inspired by the natural landscape and then take that memory and use contemporary design to create a garden that blends both ancient and modern, past and present. Designing for M&G has been a hugely enjoyable experience in the past and I will be working with a fantastic team this year to bring our vision to life. Sponsoring RHS Chelsea for this many years has enabled M&G to make a real difference in horticulture, particularly in helping to inspire more young people to get in to gardening which is a wonderful thing.”

West returns to RHS Chelsea after a one-year hiatus and will once again work with landscape contractor Steve Swatton and Hampshire-based nursery Hortus Loci.

Jacqui Haskins, M&G Marketing Director, comments: “2016 will be our seventh year as title sponsor of the Chelsea Flower Show and we’re thrilled as ever to be supporting this prestigious event. Having worked with Cleve in 2014, we’re confident that he’ll deliver a garden which will inspire and delight while reflecting our core values as an asset manager.”

M&G Investments has been managing the money of individuals and institutions for more than 80 years. 

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show runs from 24 – 28 May 2016.

Twitter: @MandGGarden

Cleve West MSGD – Biography 2015

Cleve West is a landscape designer whose creative use of space and imaginative planting has put him at the forefront of contemporary garden design in the UK.  He has won a total of eight RHS Gold Medals (five at the Chelsea Flower Show) and three awards for innovative garden design. His garden for Bupa at the Chelsea Flower Show in 2008 won the BBC/RHS “People's Choice” award and he has won the coveted “Best in Show” two years in succession for The Telegraph in 2011 and Brewin Dolphin in 2012.  His paradise-themed garden won a Gold Medal for the Chelsea Flower Show’s main sponsor, M&G Investments in 2014.

Whether in town or in the country, Cleve combines structure with sensuality, the classic with the contemporary, invariably embracing the tension between the familiar and unfamiliar to give the garden an ‘edge’. 

Sustainability is the corner stone of Cleve’s philosophy. He uses local materials wherever possible and carefully selects plants that work in their surroundings. His planting schemes, natural or contrived, will always be guided by existing flora and local conditions especially where bio-diversity is an issue.

About the RHS

As the world’s leading gardening charity, we help to bring gardening into people’s lives and support gardeners of all levels and abilities; whether they are expert horticulturists, beginners, or children who are planting seeds for the very first time. Gardening improves the quality of life and the RHS believes everyone should have access to great horticultural experiences.

RHS membership is for anyone with an interest in gardening. Support the RHS and secure a healthy future for gardening. For more information call: 0845 130 4646, or visit

RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262

About M&G

M&G Investments is an international active asset manager, investing on behalf of individuals and institutions for over 80 years. At 30 June 2015 the firm manages over £256 billion of assets through a wide range of investment strategies across equities, fixed income, real estate and multi asset.

Headquartered in London, M&G employs over 1,900 people worldwide operating from offices across Europe and Asia.

M&G is the investment arm of Prudential Plc in the UK and Europe.

For more information on M&G Investments, please visit    

Issued by M&G International Investments Limited (Registered office: Laurence Pountney Hill, London EC4R 0HH, United Kingdom.) Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and registered with the CNMV in Spain.