RBWM appointed Project Centre as planting designer. The brief aimed at creating an aspirational planting scheme that would narrate Sir Nicholas’s journey and values. It was essential that the landscape would create a range of emotions, evoking connection and hope.
Jonathan Howe (CMLI) initially developed the spatial design and later commissioned Project Centre to develop the planting design.
Sookyoung Im (CMLI) was responsible for the planting design, conveying Sir Nicholas’s special journey. David Moores (CMLI) was the Director that oversaw the delivery.
The quality of this garden is a testament to the collaborative effort between Project Centre and RBWM throughout the project.
This garden is now a beloved destination by both locals and visitors. It creates a sense of pride within the local community and celebrates the life/legacy of Sir Nicholas.
The planting concept is symbolically aligned with Sir Nicholas’s challenges and values (see ‘Innovation’) creating a reflective space with a planting narrative which represents the journey of Sir Nicholas. His family felt the garden reflected his life and we were very pleased to hear that he would have ‘loved it’.
The design enhances biodiversity through its rich layers of planting using herbaceous perennials, shrubs, bamboos and trees. We’ve also used planting to express the special journey through composition, structure, texture, colour and seasonality whilst encouraging the interaction of people with the garden.
Sustainability was at the heart of the planting design. From the start, consideration was given to create a robust planting palette. This helped considerably in terms of maintenance and the exuberant development is a testament that the strategy was a success.
Engagement was critical to the success of this scheme. As an example, students from Courthouse Junior School and Furze Platt Junior School were involved during the implementation which gave them a sense of ownership.
The design addressed the client’s brief in full, creating a special garden that elevates the memory of Sir Nicholas.
Symbolism was used throughout the garden to represent the journey of Sir Nicholas Winton.
As you enter the garden, the yellow and black bamboo represents ‘the protection of children from evil spirits’. This provides some enclosure, screening the view whilst building anticipation through the rustling sound as to what is coming next. Wild strawberries were planted under the bamboos, to symbolise peace, attributes that Sir Nicholas cared dearly. The fruits can also be enjoyed as an edible landscape element.
The winding path represents the challenges he faced, with railway sleepers being laid in a track-like pattern that symbolises the train that transported the children to safety.
The journey continues to where the view opens-up. Here you can enjoy a mix of cool and warm coloured plants, where some are aromatic, including the white lilac which symbolises innocence and peace. This leads to the tranquillity of the pond. There are seating areas, pockets of lawn to relax and paths to stroll – all for people to enjoy this beautiful garden.
The Winton Memorial Garden showcases what can be achieved when thoughtful planting practices are at the service of a strong narrative.
The planting scheme of the Winton Memorial Garden successfully met the brief of bringing the extraordinary journey of Sir Nicholas to life through unique planting design. It became an inspirational and enjoyable landscape destination which will continue to evolve and attract people in years to come.
Winton Memorial Garden
Parks and gardens
Project Centre Limited (PCL)
Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead
The Sir Nicholas Winton Memorial Garden was designed and built by the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead (RBWM) in Oaken Park, Maidenhead, to honor Sir Nicholas’s brave actions that led to 669 children being rescued from Nazi-occupied Prague and rehomed in Britain in 1939. Jonathan Howe CMLI, a former Landscape Officer at the RBWM, developed the spatial design and appointed Project Centre as planting designer - from concept through to completion. The brief aimed at creating a complex planting scheme that would narrate Sir Nicholas’s journey, values and humble character (the rescue was kept secret for over 50 years). In order to achieve this, it was crucial that the landscape would be perceived as a four-dimensional element i.e. not just a space but also a story. The aspiration was to create a garden that elevates Sir Nicholas Winton legacy as well as a place for both the local community and visitors to enjoy.
Finalist, Landscape Institute Awards 2019
Client: Joanathan Howe CMLI (Client & Led the overall design aspects of the garden, former landscape Officer at Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead) Project team: Sookyoung Im CMLI (Led Planting Design, Senior Landscape Architect at Project Centre), David Moores CMLI (Technical Director at Project Centre) ANB Groundcare (Contractor & Maintenance)