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Glass shelves created from glass waste for Silver Medal Winning Garden at Chelsea Flower Show

Fused glass made from glass waste

Image: Detail of fused glass shelving using recycled glass

In an inspiring collaboration between designers, landscapers, artisans, and passionate book experts, the Doorstep Library Garden comes to life at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2023. This balcony garden, beautifully combines the magic of reading with the importance of rainforest conservation. Created in support of the children's literacy charity Doorstep Library.


Balcony garden design at Chlesea flower show

Image: Silver Medal Winner in Balcony Garden. The Doorstep Library Garden: Words Take you Places designed by Gini Denison-Pender, Philippa Craddock and Anna Garner

Unleashing the Magic of Reading

At the heart of the Doorstep Library Garden is the belief that children's literacy is crucial for their future success. Shockingly, one in five children aged 5-8 in England does not own a book, and one in four leaves primary school without proper reading skills. Doorstep Library addresses this issue by bringing the joy of reading directly into the homes of children. Through trained reading volunteers, Doorstep Library provides books, reading sessions, and support to children from the early years up to age 11, empowering them to learn to read and opening doors to new opportunities.

 fused glass shelf

Image: Fused recycled glass shelves that flank the doorway of the garden designed and hand made by Natascha Wahl at Michael Ruh Studio

A Collaborative Endeavor

The Michael Ruh Studio was delighted to be asked to be one of the contributors to this meaningful project.  The studio has designed and created translucent recycled glass shelves that flank the doorway of the garden. The textural layered nature of the glass creates a beautiful play of illumination within the space.

Not only do Ruh's glass shelves serve a functional purpose, providing a place to display books and other items, but they also contribute to the aesthetic appeal of the garden. The combination of the delicate ferns, lush greenery, and the ethereal quality of the glass shelves evokes a sense of enchantment and wonder and creating a space that promotes reading, imagination, and rainforest conservation.

The Doorstep Library Garden owes its success to the dedicated contributions of talented individuals and organisations who share a collective vision. Gini Denison-Pender of Beautiful Wild conceptualised and designed the garden, envisioning a space where future generations view the natural world as a place of wonder, with reading as its core essence. Anna Garner of The Garnered curated a harmonious vision, uniting various artistic contributors to bring the garden to life.


Gini Denison-Pender of Beautiful Wild created the original concept and the garden design.

Anna Garner of The Garnered is the link between the garden and many of the artistic contributors.

Philippa Craddock , acclaimed florist created a beautiful textured planting scheme, filling the space with shades of green.

Carl Chaney and James Gleghorn of Greenscape designed the complex structural elements.

Neil Parslow designed the Lighting scheme created with light fittings supplied by Light Visuals

Ellen Mae Williams created the window seat fabric with sprays of colour from plant based dyes over a linen fabric, working in partnership with specialist upholsterer Rachael South with a  filling of pure wool from the sheep of Romney Marsh.

Giles Deacon, the renowned couture designer, adds a touch of magic with depictions of rainforest.

Philip Blackwell and Toby Orton of Ultimate Library direct their extensive knowledge of the world of books to the curation of a thoughtful selection of children’s nature writing during the Show week, and donation of additional books to accompany the window seat to its new destination.

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