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The Ecover Garden, designed by Matthew Childs. Image copyright RHS.

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Garden designers promote green messages at Hampton Court Palace Flower Show

Mandy Almond

Garden designers are increasingly conscious of green gardening methods, but designers at this year's RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show are demonstrating how gardens can be used to convey green messages to increase environmental consciousness amongst the public too. Mandy Almond, Show Manager, talks us through some of the gardens....

The Ecover Garden, by Matthew Childs

The Ecover Garden is based on the fundamental principle that water is life, and that while we depend upon our aquatic environments, we simultaneously threaten them with pollution, from waste plastic in the oceans and toxic residues in our rivers and lakes. The key message promoted throughout the garden is sustainability, with sustainable materials used in the garden, including recycled plastics, lime render and mulched beds to reduce water loss. Plastic is used in innovative ways, with a toilet cleaner fountain, bottle handle bench and laundry cap lamp, reflecting sponsor Ecover's ecologically sound cleaning products.

Tip of the Iceberg, by Caroline Tait and John Esling

Caroline Tait and John Esling have designed Tip of the Iceberg, a garden featuring a multi-faceted mass of fridges arranged to reflect the form of an iceberg. The design recalls roadside ‘fridge mountains', symbolic of society's wastefulness with resource, and conjures up an iceberg, cold and unwelcoming, but iconic of global warming and our role in promoting it. The garden is intended to provoke thought and make something beautiful from the discarded building blocks of consumer society.

The Clints and Grykes Garden by Benedict Green

Benedict Green has created the Clints and Grykes Garden to encourage the use of an alternative to water worn limestone in garden settings. The rare habitats of British limestone pavements were heavily quarried for garden rockeries until recent protection, however, as imported stone becomes less viable due to increased transportation costs, high carbon footprint, currency fluctuations and increased domestic demand, more pressure will be placed on British sources. Extraction risks damage to picturesque settings, and this garden demonstrates a unique, sustainable alternative.

The Claw by Jon Tilley of Dragonfly Garden Design

The focus of Jon Tilley's garden is a huge grass claw rising out of the ground, scratching the earth. The claws, which are created out of sculptural dry stone, leave behind blood red flowers and plants which seem to ooze from the earth. This garden highlights the human condition that allows mankind to live in a sense of security, but never really knowing when a natural disaster will occur.

Desolation to Regeneration by Catherine Macdonald of Landform Consultants LTD

Catherine Macdonald's garden explores the two phases of forest fire, desolation and regeneration. Visitors experience visual, auditory and olfactory senses stimulated by ‘hot' coloured plants, rust sculptures and earthy red substrates with ‘crackling' fire sounds representing the desolation phase of fire, and fresh lime green plants, charred sculptures and blackened substrates, with birdsong, insect sounds and light conveying the regeneration after fire.

I Disappear, by Luc Arek Garden Design

Luc Arek's garden is designed to emphasise how, by producing our own crops, we can be self-supporting, as well as contributing to purifying the atmosphere and drawing attention to the continued loss of allotment land for building. Three sides of the garden are covered in climbing vegetables and trained fruit trees and one side of the garden features a seated human figure reflecting on their work whilst breathing in the purified air created through plant photosynthesis. The garden uses traditional allotment plants, including apples, potatoes, onions, peas, beans and herbs, to encourage pollinating insects.

Spirits of the Land, designed by Mariko Naka and sponsored by Merrist Wood College

Inspired by her Japanese culture, Mariko believes that Shinto spirits exist in natural environments and should be respected, not thoughtlessly destroyed. Different aspects of the garden represent the continuity of living things, the eternity of spirits, the spirits of the wind, and harmony over the land. The spiritual concept of the garden is the respect of nature, encouraging people to think more about the way land can be developed in harmony with nature. Flowering annuals and herbaceous plants in the meadow provide a food source for pollinating insects, while the range of grasses provide a habitant for insect and animal species.

Ashes to Ashes, by Bruce Waldock for Outerspace Designs and the Conservation Foundation, sponsored by Rumwood Nurseries

Ashes to Ashes promotes the activities of The Conservation Foundation and in particular the ‘Great British Elm Experiment', a major replanting programme. Cuttings have been taken from parent trees which have survived the various waves of Dutch Elm Disease, and the resulting saplings are being grown and monitored by school children, community groups, farmers and private individuals across the UK. The elm trees have all been micro propagated from healthy native UK stock, a completely sustainable approach, not only for the future of Elms, but also for their habitat, which supports specific wildlife colonies. The garden portrays an apocalyptic scene, but from the devastation, a spiralling glade of new growth emerges.

The RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show runs from 9-14 July. For more information and tickets go to: www.rhs.org.uk/hamptoncourt

 

 

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