There was an overall sense of hope at RHS Hampton Court Flower Show 2017. It challenged the foresight of future cultivation, it preserved the nature of our past and helped build the senses of those in the present. Through these elements it established a core utopia of community in the human world, the plant world and the world of species we reply upon for preservation.
This commitment is resoundingly highlighted in their new category ‘Gardens for a Changing World’, empowering gardeners to meet the challenges we face in our ever-changing, uncertain world.
The show area highlights the importance of gardens in terms of their interaction with the natural environment and provides thought provoking examples on how gardeners can adapt through plant choice and garden design.
The new category put designers on the front lines of the planting war against urbanisation. They rose to the task of demonstrating new planting solutions, highlighting important issues such as climate events and firmly placing nature and the environment at the centre of modern lifestyles.
Best Garden for Changing World and Gold Medal Winner
Designed by Andreas Christodoulou, Jonathan Davies
This is the very opposite of a typical urban garden - a freeform undulating space where it's said that part of every plant is also edible. Designed for the over-structured urban setting, this garden is a space to relinquish control and allow for natural process to take centre stage.
The garden represents the beauty found in the wild with calm shadows at its centre and an open vista at the highest point for views chosen to inspire admiration of its surroundings. A place where structure and order is left in the hands of nature, the client can de-stress in awe of natural process and enjoy harvesting produce and its gentle cultivation. The space, which looks wild and beautiful, is based on forest gardening techniques, meaning that almost every plant has an edible quality. Spontaneous seeded vegetables and green manures flow around generous planting in this natural, low-maintenance garden.
The topography of the garden is created by an ancient process called Hugelkultur (hill culture), in which rotting wood and garden waste is mounded and covered with topsoil, thus mimicking the natural environment of the forest floor. Alternative lawn covers are used to create the paths and there is no hard landscaping throughout the space.
Gold Medal: Brownfield – Metamorphosis
This garden encourages us to all to find beauty among derelict urban landscapes, evoking the brownfield and industrial areas that are now so common in towns and cities.
Photo by RHS
Inspired by the Landschaftpark, Duisburg-Nord, Germany and the High Line, New York, USA, the Brownfield – Metamorphosis garden explores the legacy of our post-industrial heritage and the processes and aesthetics of regeneration.
Approaching the garden, the visitor sees a series of monolithic steel structures that reference the manufacturing industries of the Industrial Age. On closer inspection, the steel appears twisted and torn – a nod to the decline of these industries. Through the rubble, the decay is being replaced by the processes of natural regeneration, and trees and vegetation are selfseeding. This natural transition provides opportunities for wildlife in the heart of urban areas. Learn more>
Silver Gilt Medal: Perennial Sanctuary Garden
Intriguing spiral paths lead into the centre of this garden as they intersect beds of colourful planting that create appealing plant combinations between grasses and perennials. A central area behind a bamboo screen creates a sense of calm from the turmoil of the world outside.
The spiralling form of The Perennial Sanctuary Garden, with its changing colour palette of plants, symbolically represents the journey that a Perennial client makes as they move, with Perennial’s help, from the chaos of their personal circumstances to safety – finding sanctuary in the storm.
On the outer edge of the spiral, noise and distraction from the surroundings are more apparent. The stimulating red planting enhances this effect and represents the inner chaos that can come from being at crisis point. As the visitor’s journey into the garden begins, the sights and sounds outside the garden become increasingly obscured and distant. The planting becomes taller, more immersive and restful, with simple and calming colours, forms and textures. In the centre of the garden the planting transitions to a single species of towering bamboo, screening the outside world from view.