Shepherd’s hut sanctuary set for Chelsea Flower Show

MAKING IT BIG: Hut makers James Martin with Richard Lee

MAKING IT BIG: Hut makers James Martin with Richard Lee

First published in News Dorset Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter

A ‘GARDENER’S sanctuary’ made in Dorset will go on display at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show.

Plankbridge Hutmakers in Piddlehinton near Dorchester is putting the final touches to its entry – a traditional shepherd’s hut with a relaxing twist.

The design will remain faithful to the Victorian heritage of shepherd’s huts but will also add some creative and contemporary features, such as wrought-iron window boxes filled with lavender and vibrant marguerites.

Richard Lee, owner and co-founder of Plankbridge, said: “We want to create the ultimate sanctuary for gardeners.

“Ensuring that Plankbridge’s Dorset heritage is prominent in the design and build of this hut is paramount.”

The hutmakers have been working with Castle Gardens in Sherborne to ensure the design remains faithful to the company’s Dorset heritage.

Mike Burks, managing director of The Gardens Group, said: “Lavender and marguerites were selected to sit in the window boxes as they grow very well in Dorset.

“What’s more, they won’t over-crowd the pots - and when the lucky owner of this hut opens the window they will be greeted with calming scents.”

Shepherds’ huts have been around for hundreds of years and were featured in Thomas Hardy’s Far From the Madding Crowd.

Plankbridge decided to take the ‘classic’ proportions of a Victorian hut and introduce modern insulation, breather membrane and vapour barriers. Shepherds’ huts were originally made by foundries and blacksmiths’ forges and Plankbridge has copies of original Victorian hut blueprints from a Dorchester firm called Lott and Walne.

Last year the company enlisted Jonathan Holbrook - who has worked in film and television on the likes of Pirates of the Caribbean – to help with its Chelsea Flower Show entry.

The Chelsea Flower Show will be held between May 20 and 24.

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