We are all captivated by projects such as the High Line in New York where former industrial spaces are transformed into havens for wildlife.
Martyn Wilson’s garden at Hampton Court this year is all about nature taking over. Rubble and decay is replaced by trees and self-seeded plants amongst the rusting monolithic steel structures.
“Inspiration came from places such as the High Line in New York and the Landschaft Park in Druisburg, Germany, and also the regeneration of the former MG Rover site in Longbridge, Birmingham. The High Line is an example of a successful project, turning a derelict brownfield site into a thriving contemporary space. The public is invited into what was a forbidden and dangerous space.
“For the Hampton Court garden, sculpted steel and concrete blocks form the structure. I wanted to soften the urban features by introducing grasses, ferns, perennials, self-seeded annuals and shrubs such as buddleja.”
In amongst the silver birches – multi-stemmed Betula pendula are Buddleja davidii Wisteria Lane and white-stemmed Rubus cockburnianus. The perennial plant list features golden Achillea Walther Funcke, Terracota and softer yellow moonshine.
Herbs thyme, fennel and origanum mix in with verbena bonariensis, scabious, leucanthmums and umbellifers. Grasses such as the quaking grass Briza media mingle with Deschampsia cespitosa and flexuosa and Festuca amethystina.
Wild flower orange Hawkweed, Pilosella aurantiaca- also known as fox and cubs- stands out against the crushed concrete scree and monolithic steel structures which were designed by Ledbury-based sculptor Simon Probyn.
Martyn Wilson’s garden shows a new approach to weaving our industrial heritage into new landscapes for the benefit of wildlife and people. He wants us to see the beauty in these spaces- not just walk on by without a second thought.
For me, I understood his “beauty in decay and regeneration,” theme. With some show gardens, the ideas behind them can be puzzling to say the least. But this one was obvious. A new approach which celebrates the relics of our past, to create flower-filled spaces for wildlife, insects and people.
The garden, which was awarded a gold medal, was sponsored by St Modwen Properties PLC and raises awareness for UCARE urology cancer charity www.ucare-oxford.org.uk.
Simon Probyn http://www.simonprobyn.co.uk sculptures
The Pot Company http://www.thepotcompany.com
Smiths of Bletchington http://www.smithsbletchington.co.uk
Louis Masai- London-based artist outdoor murals for the hoardings http://www.louismasai.com
hortus Loci plants http://www.hortusloci.co.uk
Cotswold gardening School http://www.cotswoldgardeningschool.co.uk
Keyscapes Ltd http://www.keyscapes-easigrass.co.uk
If you visited Hampton Court this year, or watched the television coverage, which gardens caught your eye? Have any of you visited the High Line garden? It’s on my must-visit list. Thank you for reading, and for taking the time to comment.