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  • Writer's pictureLynn Cordall

Gold! Always believe in designer? Plants? Flowers?....

Wow - its been a while. Nearly 4 months. Why? Luckily I have been very busy designing peoples garden, but I have also been designing, planning, sourcing an finally building my first RHS show garden. #RHSTattonParkflower show is in Cheshire and the last RHS show of the season.

I'm not sure I really understood how much the garden - The Cotton Traders Greener Future Garden (My fantastic like minded sponsors, - would come to dominate my life, but now I am in post show tidy up week, I am so happy I took the plunge.

I entered a new category - Greener front gardens. The brief was to show how we can develop our front gardens in a more sustainable way - taking care to minimise water run off and flooding, whilst also being good for the environment and wildlife.

I imagined my design to be on Manchester City centre (Ancoats if you know it - close to the amazing Manchester canal network, with over 50 miles of walking and cycling routes). Its for a newly retied couple, who want to stay in the city, but still want some private outside space.

So in the 4 x 5m space, I have fitted in a bike store / storage, window seat, water feature and pond, occasional parking for a smart car (do you need a car if you live in a city centre? Look to hourly car rental if you need it), Bee and butterfly planting and 2 beautiful multi stem Birch trees that will only grow to 6/7m, when mature. The ivy screens are great for all wildlife and provide some privacy from your neighbours. The paving is fully permeable. Its my hope that one day all our developers will build this way, as rain water capture tanks under these surfaces can easily be installed and then the water reused. With our climate changing, water, its storage and how we use use is going to need to change beyond the current Victorian systems and cost first new developments we build.

The garden, even if I say so myself, surpassed my expectations. The judges loved it - awarding me a Gold medal, Best garden in Show and Best construction in show. The visitors also loved it. Truthfully, their feedback at times was all a little overwhelming ( I had to go on TV... and Gardeners much easier and less scary to build a garden I can tell you).

1. What did they like best? The bike store and Alpine / sedum planted green roof

2. The planting / colour palette - Top 3 faves -The Eryngiums (sea holly), The Silver Birch trees and Echinacea White Swan

So, why did I do this? Why did I put myself through weeks of hard work, battling 38 degree heat to monsoon like downpours, build hick ups, aching backs and probably a left knee that will never recover? Lets be honest, I wanted to promote my business and show prospective clients what I can for them - but I am truly passionate about sustainable approaches to building and design. I hope the garden inspired. I think they will be many more bike / bin stores with planted green roofs across the country after the last few days - and for that the bees, butterflies, insects and birds will be grateful. As we all will be. Its looks better and helps ease our minds when we see flowers and plants.

Gardens, whatever the size, and good. Full stop. Visit a garden or show and gets lots of ideas . Tatton had advice on what to grow on lots of different spoil types, how to make containers works and talks from the likes of Jason @cloudgardeneruk. From 20m2 like this space, to an acre, one container, a balcony, curb side, front garden or window box. It all helps. Get planting people -you wont regret it.

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