By Michael John McGarr
The garden is called simply ‘2101’ – and it’s going to be something of a showstopper. This will be our third year on the run at the Tatton Flower Show, in Knutsford, and we’re not ashamed to say that we’re going for gold.
Our show garden will be in the Future Spaces category and it imagines what the average British garden will look like in the year 2101. New climate change models predict that by the end of this century, there is a chance the world could be up to 7c warmer on average than it is now. The impact of this temperature rise on the way we live will be enormous.
The message that we’re trying to get across with ‘2101’ has been suported by Dr Carly McLachlan, director of Tyndall Manchester, a climate change research centre at the University of Manchester. She said: “The 2101 garden offers an alternative and exciting way to engage visitors with the impacts of climate change as well as providing a space to reflect on what we can all do now to limit the worst impacts of changes in the future – including modifying our own behaviours and pressing for local, national and global action through our councillors and MPs.”
In the year 2101, we have had to embrace new horticultural technologies and techniques to survive. We’ve deliberately designed this garden to provoke thoughts about what our gardens will be like if we see the predicted temperature rises.
Our dystopian design shows decommissioned cars and lawn mowers abandoned on the edge of the garden because fossil fuels have been depleted and there are no longer any lawns to cut.
Desert planting such as Agave Americana and the tall iconic saguaro cactus take over from native British species, with barrel cacti laid out in architectural rows where buxus spheres previously would have grown.
I am passionate about edible planting with garden design, and there is no change for this show garden. My signature edible planting scheme is evident here, with mizuna greens, fennel, sage, thyme, rosemary, tomatoes and asparagus, all of which will happily withstand a warmer climate, and will grow all year round.
I have also chosen other edible plants that we’ll be able to grow outdoors in the UK, such as kiwi fruit, bell peppers, cucumber, basil, aubergine and grapevines. Four distinctive acacia trees, native to tropical and sub-tropical landscapes, frame the garden, representing the new tree species that thrive in our new warmer climate.
This garden is going to test our team because it’s complex and very different to anything else we’ve worked on, but we think it’s worth the months of hard work to create such a stunning show garden. Visitors often don’t realise that each show garden at a flower show means three weeks of backbreaking intensive hard work building the garden to the opening day deadline, and around seven months of planning and sourcing plants, suppliers and other products.
In just the two years since our first show garden, our direction and focus and even our business name has changed enormously. However, the one thing that has remained constant is our desire to push boundaries in garden design, be passionate in everything that we do and who we are, and to provide the absolute best quality that is possible.
We want to give a massive thanks to our sponsors Derian House, Bradstone and Casa Ceramica, with more to be announced in the coming months. We still have plenty of opportunity to sponsor our 2101 and benefit from lots of media attention – take a look at our recent blog post about working with us.