Designed by Chelsea award-winning garden designer, Jilayne Rickards, and landscaped by Tecwyn Evans, of Living Landscapes, the Fauna & Flora Garden maps the journey of an ecotourist on a gorilla trek, tracing a rough track through a succession of lush and changing landscapes.  

The path eventually leads to a gorilla nest – set among bamboo and other typical gorilla foodplants – and a towering waterfall, surrounded by a variety of weird and wonderful plants commonly found at high altitudes.  

This ‘gorilla garden’ not only tells the story of the endangered species and its precious habitat, but also aims to raise public awareness of the critical importance of protecting nature around the world, and how this can be best achieved by putting people and collaboration at the heart of conservation efforts.

With sustainability at its heart, the garden was constructed entirely without the aid of concrete or cement and, after Chelsea, is being relocated to the Eden Project in Cornwall, where it will take pride of place in the tropical biome and be enjoyed by visitors for years to come.

In celebration of the garden and in support of our work, enter our draw to win a once-in-a-lifetime trip to see mountain gorillas.

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A Mountain gorilla group. Camilla Rhodes / FFI

The back story

The inspiration behind the 'gorilla garden'
castor oil plant

The plants

More about the essential plant species that occur in mountain gorilla habitat

Botanic guardians

Delve into our wider work protecting endangered plants

Mountain gorillas

Learn more about the majestic, endangered mountain gorilla

Win a trip to see mountain gorillas

Make a donation and enter for a chance to see endangered mountain gorillas in the wild
Chelsea Garden designers Jilayne Rickards and Tecwyn Evans on a research trip in Rwanda

The designer

Meet our garden designer Jilayne Rickards


David Attenborough with mountain gorillas, on location during filming for BBC Life on Earth series in Rwanda, 1978. Credit: John Sparks / Nature Picture Library

The story of the Fauna & Flora Garden

Fauna & Flora has been working to conserve mountain gorillas since 1978, when our vice-president Sir David Attenborough called a meeting with us to discuss what could be done to save these great apes. He had just returned from filming mountain gorillas for Life on Earth and was acutely aware of the grave threat they were facing.

These conversations led to the establishment of the Mountain Gorilla Project – an incredibly successful conservation programme which has today become the International Gorilla Conservation Programme (IGCP), a unique collaboration between multiple conservation partners.

Since Fauna & Flora first began working with mountain gorillas, numbers have increased from just a few hundred to over 1,000 today – a testament to the hard work and collaborative efforts of all those working to save these incredible primates.

IGCP has one simple mission: to secure the future for mountain gorillas. By working in collaboration, supporting conservation science and responsible tourism practices, and engaging with local communities, we are creating new hope for these wonderful primates and their precious habitat - while supporting the livelihoods of the people who live alongside them.
Wellard Makambo Director, IGCP

A kiosk selling handmade crafts to tourists on the border of the mountain gorillas’ protected area. Credit: Steph Baker/Fauna & Flora

Key elements of the garden

  • A brightly painted tourist gift kiosk, brimming with artisanal craft goods
  • A dramatic waterfall, constructed from large boulders like those found in the Afromontane landscape
  • The ‘forest boundary wall’ – separating the human habitat from the Protected Forest Area – constructed from Gabbro stones
  • A colourful bicycle, which would be used for transporting charcoal and other materials
  • Beehives made from hollowed-out trunks, covered and tied together with banana leaves, dotted along the boundary wall. Honey is important for supporting local livelihoods in Central Africa and the beehives on the boundary wall help to deter illegal harvesting of honey in the forest, which can lead to fires when the bees are smoked out

Sustainability is central to our RHS Chelsea Flower Show experience and we are proud that the Fauna & Flora Garden is entirely cement and concrete free. In addition, 95% of building materials were sourced from the UK, the garden team are recycling and reusing as many materials as possible and zero waste is being sent to landfill.

The boulders used to construct the boundary wall and waterfall, for example, are a waste product from agricultural farming.

Our Garden Designer - Jilayne Rickards

Credit: Sophie Hart / Fauna & Flora

Jilayne Rickards has been designing and creating gardens for over 20 years. In 2019, Jilayne made her phenomenal RHS Chelsea Flower Show debut with the CAMFED Garden, which won a prestigious RHS Gold Medal and the BBC/RHS People’s Choice Award.

Jilayne’s gardens are designed with biodiversity and sustainability in mind and are constructed using methods that reflect her determination to reduce the carbon footprint of her builds.

Our Garden Landscaper – Tecwyn Evans 

Living Landscapes is committed to sustainable and environmental construction practices, which has supported its long history of BALI and RHS award wins. Living Landscapes collaborates with landscape architects and garden designers who also support its core values and firmly believe that landscape construction should complement the natural location it lies within.