Projects & Press

The Lemon Tree Trust Garden | Tom Massey | RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018 | Metal Fretwork

Martine Le Gassick

Published: 20th February 2019

Written by: Martine Le Gassick


metal fretwork

Award-winning garden designer Tom Massey’s collaboration with the Lemon Tree Trust – RHS Chelsea Flower Show’s Silver Gilt Award-winning Lemon Tree Trust Garden – resulted in a real garden that showcased the beauty and productivity of the gardens in Domiz refugee camp in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, which is home to over 30,000 refugees. The beautifully designed and uplifting garden pleased the visitors as well as the judges, drawing huge crowds all week.

The Lemon Tree Trust organisation supports the development of urban agriculture and greening innovation for refugees, promoting food production, well-being, and community. The Trust believes that gardening has the power to heal, addressing issues of isolation and mental health. For many people affected by war, simply having a small patch of garden is a significant source of solace and a connection with their previous life.

Tom’s design celebrated the ingenuity and resilience of the refugees, drawing inspiration from the gardens created at Domiz, with input from refugees, and from the work of the Trust, which provides the horticultural knowledge and equipment to facilitate them.

Tom used materials that can be found at the camp, such as concrete and steel, to create a shelter at the back of the garden, with a façade made from metal fretwork screens inspired by traditional Islamic designs, but then added his own touches to elevate the piece to a show garden level.

At Stark & Greensmith we were lucky enough to be part of that approach, as we were asked to design and fabricate steel metal fretwork panels, galvanised and finished in T-wash, conventionally a pre-treatment prior to painting or powder coating, but in this case used to dull-down the bright zinc finish of galvanised steel to beautiful muted greys.

“It was a pleasure to work with Stark & Greensmith on the Lemon Tree Trust Garden at the Chelsea Flower Show. From advice on initial concept designs to a fast turnaround on manufacture and a beautiful end product, they provided a highly professional and tailored service to meet our requirements.” – Tom Massey

Tom’s determination to elevate the ordinary to the exceptional extended to the inclusion of everyday objects, such as tin cans and plastic bottles, re-purposed to grow plants, while channels radiating from a brimming fountain helped to cool the atmosphere and create a sense of well-being.

Tom is an award-winning garden designer based in Richmond, London who has previously designed two show gardens at RHS Hampton Court and has been awarded both residential and commercial design awards by The Society Of Garden Designers. To see Tom’s full design portfolio please click here.

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