Chelsea Flower Show 2009

Future Nature

FUTURE NATURE was my first Chelsea garden, and I was part of a team with architect Adrian Hallam and landscape architect, Chris Arrowsmith. This garden contained most of the elements and themes that I would go on to explore on more detail and depth in future Chelsea gardens.

Future Nature was a demonstration garden, with themes of rainwater management, biodiversity, urban nature and ecology, reclaimed materials, climate-change adaptation, and diverse plantings for pollinators, within a sharp design framework

The garden revolved around a 4 metre tall habitat tower, filled on two sides with reclaimed and waste materials to form bug hotels and invertebrate homes, and on the other two sides with planted living walls.

A large-scale stormwater planter takes rainwater from the downpipes of the building structure in the garden, and any excess, not absorbed by the planting, overflows through runnels in the adjacent path, into the central pool. A reclaimed timber beam makes a seating edge along the front of the planter

The path in the garden was made from roof slates (rescued from a skip in Sheffield) tightly packed on their sides, to make a surprisingly strong surface, which is also permeable.

The planting in the garden was adapted to dry conditions. A sparkling mix of Armeria maritima, Salvia nemorosa and the grass Sesleria nitida gave a ‘pictorial meadow’-like effect, and elsewhere swathes of the grass Stipa tenuissima contained drifts of Euphorbias and Sisyrinchium

The series of habitat structures and bee hotels were constructed with waste materials and timber