BBC gardeners' world live 2016: Best show garden
By Owen Morgan
Over the last two years I have been working closely with The Conservation Volunteers and the Health for Life program to bring a community growing space Show Garden to BBC Gardeners' World Live at the NEC. Health for Life is a partnership programme funded by the Mondeléz International Foundation, promoting healthy lifestyle activities across South Birmingham.
One of the main objectives of the design was to give visitors lots of ideas to take away to use at home.
This project took a giant leap forward earlier this year when Bradstone were kind enough to support the garden with the donation of their materials. This was of particular delight to me because from the very early stages of the designs development I had wanted to use a product like Woburn Rumbled.
The design called for a strong and durable material which could stand up to the rigours of an active community space but also deliver style and a strong design aesthetic. Woburn Rumbled was the ideal candidate. We used the Fossil Buff coloured blocks to form a central path through the design which was then bisected perpendicularly by thinner Graphite colour block paths. The overall effect created a strong structure for the garden with lots of permeability for a variety of users including small children, wheelchair users and elderly people.
One of the main objectives of the design was to give visitors lots of ideas to take away to use at home. This was the driving factor behind using Woburn Rumbled paving. I wanted to show people you could use a really accessible material, conventionally used for driveways, and turn it into elegant contemporary paths. The raised planters acted as support to the edges of these paths instead of a conventional concrete haunch. This allowed the design to retain its strong crisp lines which you might normally associate with more expensive cut stone paving. This plays into the ethos behind the garden, make good contemporary design available to everyone.
The build of the garden went smoothly despite all the rain a British summer could throw at us. All the materials were on site waiting for us and I had the great fortune of using Big Fish Landscapes as a contractor. Big Fish are a Bradstone Assured contractor which really showed throughout their work. They were able to handle the materials with great skill and achieve an extremely high level of finish. This played an enormous part in the garden winning a Gold medal and the prestigious Best Show Garden award.
It was important to everyone involved that the garden had a legacy far beyond the show and this is something we are working hard to achieve. All of the materials and planting have gone to sites within the program in Birmingham. The Woburn Rumbled paving will be used to create paths and edgings at existing and new sites over the next 12 months. Helping to create safe, effective growing spaces that all members of society can access and engage in valuable outdoor activity.
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