Ones to watch…just some of the garden design entries for 2006

Ones to watch…just some of the garden design entries for 2006
Show gardens

Jamie Dunstan, PSI Nursery, Rotherham, South Yorkshire, tel - 01709 790642

Innovative use of materials and excellent planting in Jamie Dunstan’s 2005 sunken patio garden earned him an RHS Gold medal for his first ever garden at the RHS Flower Show at Tatton Park in the back to back garden category.  This year his ambitions extend to building a contemporary show garden called ‘Long Hot Summer’ featuring an open timber structure that is cloaked in a stainless steel net to allow climbing plants i.e. vines to scramble up and over the structure providing shade. Long rectangular stepping stones will extend through Mediterranean-inspired planting and over the pond that surrounds the front of the garden giving it a cooler, more tranquil atmosphere with the rear of the garden enclosed using mature olive trees densely under planted with phormiums. 

Lucy Hunter and Louise Ward, Tattenhall, Chester, tel 01829 770726

Newcomers and Gold and Silver medallists from last year’s Tatton show, Lucy Hunter and Louise Ward, have joined forces this year to create an Art Deco style show garden, inspired by the film ‘Out of Africa’.  The centrepiece is an elevated tree house with a light cascading water curtain falling into a plunge pool and surrounded by lush planting.


Reaseheath College, Nantwich, Carol Adams, tel 01270 613211
Students at Reaseheath College have been challenged to create a garden for the school curriculum, using outdoor space as an educational resource in which history, science, geology and biology can be taught; from the Roman's use of herbs and spices, to the lifecycles of plants, soil, wildlife and human growth.

Clive Scott, Styal, Cheshire, tel 0161 437 3737

The Charge of the Light Brigade is Clive Scott’s theme for his show garden in 2006, a tribute to the real life events that took place at Balaclava and inspired Tennyson to write his famous poem.  The garden will take the form of an open book with planting to reflect the mood of the poem; sabre-like Crocosmia 'Lucifer' will stand proudly amidst flowing Stipa tenuissima and the end of the valley will see a phalanx of Perovskia atriplicifolia 'Blue Spire' (Russian Sage).

Show feature

Vale Royal Borough Council, Mid-Cheshire, Alexandra Barnet, tel 01606 867516

Vale Royal Borough Council has won four consecutive Gold medals and Best in Show for entries in the RHS National Flower Bed Competition.  Now the team plans to build a show feature dedicated to the global Fair Trade movement.  Educational elements in the garden will include a banana plantation and waterbeds, lush tropical planting and water features to demonstrate the importance of water conservation and show what Fair Trade means to many nations struggling with precious resources.

Back to back gardens

Cheshire Wildlife Trust, Nantwich, Cheshire, Steve Taylor, tel 0161 274 3311
Cheshire Wildlife Trust is to enter its first ever back to back garden in 2006 with designers Jo Capstick and Nicky Saddington.  The team is drawing its inspiration from Victorian Naturalists, renowned for their fascination with the natural world.  The main focus in this garden will be a stumpery, which although will be the first time many people have seen one, was actually a common sight in many Victorian gardens, consisting of a number of uprooted tree stumps, ferns and other shade loving plants to reflect the theme.

Robert Frier, Charlesworth Design, Sale, Greater Manchester, tel 0161 905 3871

Returning to Tatton after a couple of years absence is garden designer Robert Frier who has previously won Gold and Silver medals for his pet friendly back to back garden for the PDSA and low allergen Show garden for Astra Zeneca.  This year he has named his back to back garden ‘Pteridomania’, literally translated as ‘mad for ferns’.  Robert’s garden demonstrates how the fern, once popular in large Victorian gardens, can be used to create a tranquil, low maintenance space in a small suburban garden today.

Penny Meadmore, Lincoln, tel 01522 791 121
Penny Meadmore is another newcomer to the RHS Flower Show at Tatton Park, although, as a regular BBC garden show TV presenter, is familiar with the show.  Her proposed design is called ‘Pink’ and is an unashamedly girly garden entered into the back to back garden category.  Textural pink planting and walls of wood and glass enclose a peach-shaped deck surrounded by a circular pool of water.  The feminine design is a retreat ideally suited to an indulgent health spa, with soft shapes and tactile planting of pale pink blooms and feather grasses.

Jackie Brocklehurst, Sale, Greater Manchester, tel 07900 917 390

Jackie Brocklehurst returns to Tatton under her own auspices having successfully worked on the Reaseheath College Gold medal-winning garden in 2004.  She invites visitors to ‘Eat My Garden’ in her plans for her own back to back garden in 2006.  This garden will feature heavily on good wholesome organic produce like sweetcorn oats, chillies, edible seeds, a few salad vegetables and herbs to demonstrate how a simple edible garden doesn't have to look like an allotment. Jackie’s garden will also use reclaimed materials and ultimately aims to be beautiful to look at, sit in and enjoy without being labour intensive.

Phillippa Probert, Bromborough, Wirral, tel 07734 157 976

Phillippa Probert's back to back garden is called 'Crimson Crush' and is designed to provide a setting for a romantic summer evening.   The whole area will be flooded to create a shallow pool and emerging from the water is a steel framework supporting a metal deck and access walkway through a living screen of water plants and opening up to a rectangular dining area.   Raised planters will be filled with black and purple/crimson coloured flowers, and foliage and powerful flower heads are important in creating the necessary romantic, passionate mood: Papaver, Dahlias, and Agapanthus will also form an essential part of the planting scheme.

West Kilbride Environmental Group, Jane Fraser, West Kilbride, Ayrshire, tel 01294 823 808
‘Cat Lovers and Their Cats’ is a back to back courtyard garden designed with both owners and their feline companions in mind, providing a mutually harmonious space.  A raised deck with sun lounger and parasol benefits the owner, while underground tunnels, foliage for shade and toys encourage the cat to remain within the garden to try and help reduce road traffic incidents and annoyance to neighbours.  Non-poisonous plants are featured that are beneficial for cat digestion, which have been approved by a toxicologist at the Feline Advisory Bureau. 

Tatton Park, Knutsford, Cheshire, Sam Youd, tel 01565 750 780
Taking inspiration from its sister school in Africa, which is part of former Tatton Park owner Lord Egerton’s estate in Kenya, Knutsford’s Egerton School is helping the gardens team at Tatton Park to create a back to back garden that gives an eclectic flavour of what an African school garden might be like.  With themes including the Masai and using Lord Egerton’s favourite roses and plants brought in from Africa, this is a garden that is sure to cement an alliance between the two schools.

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