Aerial impression of Times Eureka Garden design in association with Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (Credit: Marcus Barnett Design + NEX)
Highlighting the importance of plants to mankind’s survival is the theme of The Times Eureka Garden at this year’s RHS Chelsea Show which is being designed by Marcus Barnett for joint sponsors The Times Newspaper and Kew Gardens.
I am fascinated with the concept of this garden. Over the last year my interest in botany has started to emerge and I am increasingly curious about the properties of plants, where they originate from and how they were discovered. So the idea of the central structure of the garden which is based on cellular plant structure intrigues me particularly as it has been created by the architectural practice, NEX, using computer algorithms based on cell structure etc!
The garden sets out to demonstrate how plants impact on our everyday lives. From plants that are used for medicinal reasons such as: Foxglove (Digitalis x mertonensis) which is used for heart conditions and Geranium (Geranium sanguineum) which is used to treat kidney conditions and apparently the leaves make an excellent mosquito repellant (that I didn’t know) to Roses (Rosa glauca) used by both the cosmetics and drinks industry (how I don’t know!) and at the far end of the spectrum Deschampsia cespitosa that was/is used to thatch houses. I think it will be fascinating to look at the garden and try and work out the uses of each of the plants included.
However, as we all know it is notoriously hard to get a close look at show gardens at RHS Chelsea so it is hoped that planning permission will be granted to relocate the garden to Kew once the show is over. Not only will visitors be able to see the garden without the crowds but also to walk in it and see the plants up close and personal.
This is the first time The Times will be sponsoring a garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and it is some years since Kew Gardens exhibited at the show. They have been brought together through an interest in plants, science and the environment and the garden is designed on this basis. As many of us know Kew Gardens has been a botanical garden for 252 years and as well as its 132 landscaped hectares which contain large collections of plants from around the world it is also responsible for the Millennium Seed Bank at Wakehurst which contains the largest bank of wild seed in the world. The Times is the only national newspaper to have a dedicated monthly science magazine, Eureka, and so this is a fitting partnership for its first ever show garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
The garden has the potential to be fantastic not only does it have the horticultural expertise of Kew behind it but Marcus Barnett has already got two RHS gold medals and a silver gilt medals under his belt and the construction company, The Outdoor Room, has built 11 awarding winning gardens including 4 gold medals – so lots of expertise!
I for one will definitely be looking out for this garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show as, if I’m honest, I don’t get that excited about show gardens or garden design so to have a show garden designed specifically to highlight the plants really appeals to me but I will have to wait until the end of May to see if it lives up to my expectations.