Sensory Show Garden RHS 2019
Celebrating the government’s Year of Green Action and working in collaboration with the Sensory Trust, Cotswold Estates and Gardens co–designed and constructed a silver medal awarded winning sensory show garden.
The garden aimed to promote health and well-being by engaging children and visitors with the environment. Incorporating and demonstrating accessible sensory features that could be transferred and recreated in an affordable manner to domestic garden situations.
In the theme of affordability, the garden had a strong element of recycling and reuse of materials. One of the most eye catching being a colourful yacht sail reshaped and hung between poles making a garden canopy and extending usable garden time by providing shelter from sunshine and showers.
The gently curved central pathway created from recycled shredded rubber tyres, looped around the garden creating a sense of adventure and fun incorporating a route to a den and chill out zone relaxation space. This material choice has the added benefit of permeability allowing rainwater to slowly percolate into the ground and helping to prevent flooding.
Contributing to a reduction in carbon footprint by reducing the need for mains water supply the garden design incorporates slimline water butts. These store collected rainwater for future garden irrigation needs thereby reducing household bills. Many councils also have subsidy schemes which contribute to initial purchase costs.
A colourful variety of sizes and texture of the plants were chosen, stimulating the visual, touch, smell and even taste senses! A few specific examples being; Woodland strawberries, deliciously irresistible with the added bonus of being easy to grow and any left behind are equally great for wildlife too! Colourful Sunflowers and Sweet Peas, beautiful to see and attractive to pollinating insects and Angel Wings a stunning plant with huge velvety silver coloured leaves that simply just shouts out to be stroked!
Finally, careful design choice was given to the holding devices for the plants, with options used including standard containers, living plant walls and recycled cable drums, all visually interesting and extending the height accessibility of plants beyond that normally used in standard garden design.
The RHS judges awarded the sensory show garden a silver medal with the real winners being those families able to take home some of the ideas used and transfer these to their own garden environments giving children opportunities to connect with nature and enjoy garden spaces whilst being mindful of wildlife and the wider environment.