Show Garden

RHS Flower Show Cardiff 2015 Made for Gardens: Nurture in Nature

Colour design drawing for RHS Flower Show Cardiff 2015 garden Made fro Gardens: Nurture in Nature drawn by Shani Lawrence Garden Designs
Colour design drawing for RHS Flower Show Cardiff 2015 garden Made fro Gardens: Nurture in Nature drawn by Shani Lawrence Garden Designs

In collaboration with Shani Lawrence Garden Designs and The Centre for Alternative Energy Made for Gardens created a show garden at the RHS Flower Show Cardiff 2015 where we were awarded a silver gilt medal.

The original brief was given to us by the RHS and forms part of their Simple Spaces Amazing Places campaign. The brief was as follows:

“Many of us who live in an urban or sub-urban environment have small or very little green space to call our own. Gardens may
have been paved over to allow for additional parking or ease of maintenance and as a result vital green space around us is
becoming less and less. Green space is vital for wildlife, biodiversity and for our own health and wellbeing.  At RHS Flower Cardiff
2015 we aim to launch the campaign to get people to do their bit for urban greening and turn their grey to green.  
Simple Spaces: Amazing Places aims to show the visitor how an average size garden can be utilised and transformed into an
inspiring, practical and easily maintainable living space. The gardens should be packed with ideas that visitors can take away with
them, even if they only take sections of the designs to fit in with the space they have at home. 

A wildlife haven – this home belongs to a young family who have two children aged 3 and 6. They love the outdoors and visiting
the local parks but would like to be able to utilize the space they have at home to reflect their outdoor interests. Gardening for
wildlife is very important in this garden as the children would like to encourage birds, insects and hedgehogs. It would be nice if
there is room for the children to have their own small raised bed and perhaps a den or hideaway. “

Working with Shani we decided that if we were to design and build a wildlife garden that it should be kind to nature not just in itself but to the wider world as a whole. To accomplish this we chose to use all sustainable materials. To this end we contacted The Centre for Alternative Energy.

The original seventeen trees that the the show garden Made for Gardens: Nurture in Nature was made from.
The original seventeen trees that the the show garden Made for Gardens: Nurture in Nature was made from.

They agreed to pull a number of trees from their woodland by horse which we could then use to make all the timber structures in the garden. The trees removed are to be replanted with broad leaf species. As well as the new trees sequestering carbon the carbon of the felled trees will be locked in. Choosing the correct species of tree for outside use is very important, larch and douglas fir was mainly used due to its suitability to an outside environment and will survive well with no treatment slowly silvering in colour over time.

Stacked pile of swan timber from sustainably managed woodland.
The timber sawn down from the seventeen trees from The Centre for Alternative Technology.

Once we had the trees we planked them and took the timber back to our workshop in Solva where we planed them and machined them to make all the structures in the garden. From the timber we had we created a wildlife fence that allows plants to be held vertically, greatly increasing the amount of green space in the garden. Into the fence we also built bug hotels, important habitats for bees and invertebrates. We also built a children’s den which we are donating to The Centre for Alternative Energy, a secret door nestled in the hedge that when opens reveals a blackboard for children to draw on and record their wildlife observations. We created two benches for the garden, a small bench and a serpentine bench that coils around the garden allowing the children to run round it and disappear across the stepping stones over the bog garden area. We also made two raised beds for children to grow their own plants which also incorporates a sand pit and an area for mud play.

Shani carefully selected plants due to their dual suitability to both children and wildlife. We used a number of plants that are poisonous such as bluebells and daffodils taking the view that educating children about plants is also important.

The sedum for the den roof was donated by Green Roof Tops and the beautiful water sculpture was donated by Creative Spiral.

We hope that you like the photographs of the garden. We really enjoyed creating it and felt that we met all our aims in its design and build.

Click here to view the brochure that was produced for the show.

 Plant List – these are the plants that we used at the show, please contact Shani Lawrence if you would like more information on wildlife friendly planting.

Ajuga x r. ‘Black Scallop’ (Bugle) Alchemilla mollis (Lady’s mantle)Allium ursinum (Wild garlic) Amelanchier lamarckii. (June berry) Anemone blanda ‘White Splendour’Arenaria balearica (Sandwort) Asplenium scolopendrium (Hart’s tongue)Asplenium angustifolium

Aubrieta ‘Blue cascade’

Brunnera m. ‘ Dawson’s White’

Carex elata ‘Aurea’ (Bowles golden sedge)

Cardamine pratensis (Ladys smock)

Cardamine heterphylla ‘Big White’

Carex ‘Frosted Curls’

Ceanothus impressus ‘Victoria’

Clematis alpina

Clematis cartmanii ‘Joe’

Cryrtomium fortunei var cliviola

Dryopteris erythrosa

Dryopteris affinis ‘Pinderi

Elaeagnus x ebbinegi

Erica e. ‘W T Rackliff’ (Heather)

Exochorda racemosa ‘Niagara’ (pearl bush)

Fargaria vesca (wild strawberry)

Foeniculum vulgare ‘Bronze giant ‘(Fennel)

Fritillaria meleagris (Snakeshead fritillary) Geranium phaeum (woodland cranesbill) Hebe ‘Mrs Winder’ (Veronica)Hosta undulata ‘Albomarginata’ (Plaintain lily)*Hedera helix (Ivy) *Hyacinthoides non scripta (Blue bell)Laurus nobilis (Sweet Bay)Lavandula angustifiolia (Lavender)

*Leucojum aestivum ‘Gravetye Giant’ (Summer snowflakes)

Lotus corniculatus (Birds foot trefoil)

Myosotis (forget me not)

*Narcissus p. obvallaris (Tenby daffodil)

Pieris j. ‘Variegata’

Primula denticulata White (drumstick primulas)

Primula veris (Cowslip)

Primula vulgaris (Primrose)

Pulmonaria Blue Ensign (Lungwort)

Rosmarinus o. prostrata’ (Rosemary)

Saxifrage ‘Mossy White’

Skimma japonica ‘Finchy’

Thymus p. ‘Purple carpet‘ (Thyme)

Thymus ‘Silver Posie’ (Variegated thyme)

Veronica ‘Georgia Blue’

Viburnum tinus ‘Eve Price’ (Laurustinus)

Viola odorata (Violet)

* The daffodils; bluebells, ivy and the Summer snowflakes are harmful if eaten and can cause irritation to the skin.

3 Responses

  1. There is a great article in the Pembrokeshire Herald today about the show garden, teaming up with CAT and the sustainability side of the garden. We are featured in the Homes and Garden section. A very well written piece.

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