Another successful Hampton Court Garden Festival welcomed visitors from across the country to celebrate gardening, nature and the love of outdoors. Fiona Garcia reports on the biggest news and trends form the show

Global Impact This year, the RHS introduced a new Global Impact Gardens category, which addressed the challenges we face today in today’s world – whether social, economic or environmental. Within this category, was On the Brink, which addresses the state of the world’s biodiversity, which has reached a critical point and highlights the global threat of plastic pollution to our oceans. Another,

titled Believe

in Tomorrow, was part of a crowdfunded project to get children in urban environments reconnected with nature. Many of the plants were grown and nurtured by schoolchildren in south London, helping them to learn new skills and giving them the chance to create a greener world for themselves.

Woodland wonders As at the Chelsea Flower Show this year, there was a lot of woodland- style planting and gardens promoting the benefits of natural spaces. The Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton unveiled the redesign of her RHS Back To Nature garden, with some new added features. The garden works to highlight how time spent in natural environments can help in building the foundations for positive physical and mental wellbeing. Another garden in the Global

Impact category took a more direct approach. The Forest Will See You Now, designed by Michelle Brandon, recreated a forest in an oversized pack of pills, as it champions nature as a medicine in the 21st Century. Phytoncides, a chemical compound released by trees and plants, have been shown in studies to have a positive impact on natural ‘killer cells’ found in humans. These ‘natural killer’ cells occur

in the body and help fight tumours and virus-infected cells. According to one of the representatives on the garden, just three hours in woodland can offer health benefits that last for up to seven days. The forest garden provided a cool, shaded space with banks of woodland ground cover, linear trunks of native Betula pendula and Pinus sylvestris, bordered with Hazel and Field maple. On a smaller scale, the Stop &

10 DIY WEEK 19 JULY 2019

Pause Garden, designed by Dave Green in the Lifestyle Gardens category, offered a woodland retreat for relaxation and meditation. Speaking to DIY Week about his inspiration, Mr Green said: “A lot of people have an interest in relaxation and meditation, so that’s where the inspiration came from. A natural, shady woodland space is very calming and tranquil, so that’s what I was aiming to recreate. A lot of research is being done at the moment to understand what the psychological link is between nature and mental health and I don’t think it’s fully understood. If you go into a green space, you feel different, and I think there is something there. As the research develops, it will be interesting to see what comes up.” Of the planting scheme, he said:

“At the front is a woodland edge where there are taller flowers and grasses, such as digitalis, Gillenia trifoliate, and Calamagrostis, all bursting out from under the trees and then, when you go further inside it’s shadier, lower-level planting with glossy, darker colours, so you get that idea of it changing… If you go to a woodland in the summertime you would typically see a lot of greenery, so I’ve tried to take my lead from that and reflect it in the plants I’ve chosen. Therefore, it’s mainly changes in textures, shape and form of the plants that bring the interest to it.” In creating the space, Mr Green

said he hoped people would realise the benefit of being in nature. “I would love them to take that thought away and try to value natural spaces more because I think nature is taken for granted a bit.” The garden also featured a pool

at the centre, designed to replicate a calm body of water one might find in a woodland setting but also to aid reflection and relaxation. The exhibit is to be re-built outside the chemotherapy unit at Solihull hospital now the show is over and Mr Green is encouraged that his garden will help patients undergoing treatment “find a natural space to escape”.

Water, water, everywhere Water in different forms was seen on a number of gardens across the show and OutdoorLiving UK

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