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Show gardens to impress and inspire

The gardens will be created by a diverse array of designers ranging from those with respected international reputations, students and competition winners to professional landscapers.  The designers will bring themes to life based on their own imaginations or the ideas of the gardens’ sponsors with coveted RHS medals being awarded for gardening excellence when the gardens are judged by the RHS panel of experts just before the show opens.

The Highways Agency garden, designed by Marney Hall and which yesterday won a Royal Horticultural Society Gold medal, shows the rich and diverse landscapes of the English countryside.  The Bridgwater College show garden captures the beauty and charm of Somerset from the cider industry and beautiful landscapes to unspoilt beaches.  Another scenic destination at the show will be the Swiss Alps recreated on Ricola’s Herb Garden of Natural Goodness.

There is even an element of time travel with the Time Space Continuum Garden by the City of Wolverhampton College including an evolution of plants beginning with prehistoric species through to modern cultivated varieties.  Delving back into the wild and free 1960’s is the “Something in the Air” scented garden inspired by the 1969 Thunderclap Newman song of the same name.

Growing Your Own will be a recurring theme in the show gardens this year with a  garden designed by Simply Gardening for Schools, showing schools, teachers, parents and children just how easy it can be to grow your own and the garden will be rebuilt after the show at a primary school in North Lincolnshire.  Birmingham City Council’s “A Credit Munch” garden hopes to encourage families and children to grow fruit, vegetables and herbs in their gardens, while the National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners will be creating a heart shaped allotment to show how growing your own helps with a healthy lifestyle.  Even a roof garden can be a good place for growing vegetables and herbs, as shown by the “Roof Garden Retreat” by Nechells Green Garden Centre.

Health is also an important theme this year with the Tena Active Living garden promoting the benefits of keeping active and demonstrations of yoga and pilates taking place on the garden among plants with medicinal qualities.  The Hazy Days garden designed by Mark Eveleigh and sponsored by the Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust will be the perfect illustration of how therapeutic gardening can be with the plants chosen and reared by mental health patients who will also be involved in the construction of the garden.

Recycling and reclamation are the themes of two further gardens.  “Greening the Brown” by Warwickshire College sets about reclaiming a garden from urban wasteland and the “Baby Bio Garden” where leading designer David Domoney will create a colourful and entertaining garden from recycled items including decking from remoulded milk cartons, planters from jeans and hanging basket bras!

Continuing the fun theme will be the Nursery Rhyme Garden from Daisy Chain Garden Design drawing on nursery rhymes for the features in the garden including a cockleshell path and a well, bucket and hill.  Children will be equally enthralled with The Stumpery garden created by Walsall Arboretum Garden Volunteers with both hard and soft wood stumps arranged to provide a diverse habitat for wildlife. Providing a place for adults and children to learn about wildlife, growing food and plants is also the theme of Debbie Cooke’s vibrant and colourful garden of discovery called New Life at No 6.

An Urban Retreat has been designed by Paul Titcombe Garden and Landscape Design to attract wildlife and provide a calm space for people.  The Sanctuary Garden designed by Robert Hughes Garden Design represents the problems faced by asylum seekers wishing to settle in the UK.

Further feature gardens at the show not part of the RHS show garden judging include the three NS&I Growing Gardens Today competition winning gardens.  The winning garden designers will be rising to the challenge set by NS&I to use modern and sustainable techniques to create imaginative and attractive gardens in which to grow fruit, vegetables and herbs.

There will also be the opportunity to compare our own techniques for grow your own with those used in Africa on the Send a Cow garden with African farmers explaining how these techniques can be used in the UK