This year the Writtle College garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, which is entitled Green Spaces: Growing Your Own in Small Spaces, will show visitors how they can grow their own in an urban home. The exhibit will be positioned in the Great Pavilion at the Chelsea Flower Show 2012, 22 - 26 May.
Set in a kitchen, against a generic London city scape in reference to The Queen's Jubilee and London 2012, the concept of the garden is more like that of a trade stand - demonstrating the virtues of plants for small places. The exhibit will demonstrate how individuals can choose and grow culinary plants that only require the limited and rapidly reducing space available to the majority of city dwellers.
The garden will show a variety of easy growing methods and tools that can be adapted to an individual's personal space. Visitors to the garden will see old wine cases being used as ready-made raised planters - for those with limited space or DIY ability, while a hydroponic air lifted green soilless bottle wall will demonstrate how an urban home can recycle bottles to make an attractive internal feature to grow herbs. Sack gardens, vertical gardening pots, cupcake cases and bottle tops will also play a key focal point within the interactive, educational garden.
Toshiba, as part of their generous sponsorship of the Writtle College garden, will be launching Slim Signage, a new innovative digital display system at the Show. The Toshiba Slim Signage units are made up of full colour LCD panels which can be adapted to fit a range of applications. Each panel can display images or videos which can be played across all the panels, both can be programmed to change at pre-set times. Compact and easy to set up, the display system on view at the show is about the same size as three iPhones end to end and will help to make the garden an interactive exhibit. The digital signage, which has not yet been launched in the UK, will display culinary plant and herb descriptions alongside a number of QR codes.
Simon Watkins, Lecturer in Horticulture and this year's Chelsea Garden Designer commented: “this year we are demonstrating the possibilities of growing in small spaces. We are looking at growing your own food in the tiniest of places, including bottle tops and old rice bag. The exhibit sets out to educate people into making the most of small spaces, reusing household containers and challenging the idea that Growing Your Own means, 'needs to look Do It Yourself'. I'd not only like visitors to the garden to walk away with new ideas, I'd like for them to come up with new ones. We are encouraging everyone to share ideas online via our Facebook link http://www.facebook.com/WrittleAtChelsea2012 .
Recognising that the theme for the garden has been born out of the challenges urban homeowners face today, Simon went on to say: “Overall, I want visitors to take something away from the garden and to pass it on. We live in an increasingly challenging world, with a myriad of pressures on individual's which means we occasionally need to escape, where better than the therapy of Growing Your Own, inside or out?”
Involved in the construction, growing and planting of the garden have been a number of students aged from 16 to 61. Horticulture students at both Higher and Further Education Level can accept credit for their dedication and involvement within the garden - taking on roles such as stone cutting, plant sourcing, watering and developing a hydroponics system for the bottle wall.
Pictured: Simon Watkins, second from left, with three students - James Day, Tom Pryke and James Thompson - in the framework for the Chelsea garden with just some of the culinary herbs that will be on display.