Bringing her passion for upcycle gardening and sustainability to the Show, Frances Tophill presents her first ever Show Garden, a sustainable, post-industrial garden for a modern world.
With sustainability at the heart of the design, Frances’ Garden is structurally inspired by the Bauhaus era of the 1920s, when the BBC was formed, juxtaposed with naturalistic planting, lush greenery and rewilded areas to support wildlife. The garden will illustrate the beauty that can ensue as nature is allowed to take its course. Visitors will see how plants can intertwine with a stylised landscape, increasing opportunities for biodiversity and sustainability in our built up spaces.
Softening the geometric shapes within the garden that represent our industrial past, the encroaching flora will be a kaleidoscope of plants with a purpose, be it medicinal or nutritional, or as a source of food or habitat for wildlife. A specimen apple tree, Delbard Esteva, will be set amongst a woodland understory of purple with accents of orange and red, peppered with naturally growing edibles and garden vegetables.
Locally sourced, reclaimed and recycled materials feature throughout the garden design. A grid of sunken Belfast sink ponds sits at the centre, with a vintage greenhouse made from reclaimed wooden windows, a shed made of rusty-patina corrugated iron, and a 2.5m tall bug arch utilising antique radiators, clay pipes, bricks, tiles to create a range of habitats for wildlife.
Contributing to the sustainable nature of the garden, Frances has chosen to work only with plants grown in peat free compost, that have been allowed to grow naturally in the run up to the Show.
Take-home ideas will be in abundance, from using existing materials to create garden features to maximising every inch of a plot and creating a variety of habitats within a small space. Visitors will come away with a feeling of balance and equilibrium as the human world sits harmoniously with the landscape as well as the flora and fauna within.
From birdhouses, bug hotels and hedgehog shelters, to planting flowers loved by the bees there’s something we can all do to help wildlife in the garden. Take a look below at some of the previous sustainable and bug friendly gardens from BBC Gardeners’ World Live.