About Near Future Garden
Visitors entered Near Future Garden via a specially designed Carbon Path with the footprints of famous Climate Champions.
This led to a vortex of black “oil”, slowly draining away as we burn fossil fuels, depleting the earth of the essential carbon that it needs to balance increasing emissions.
Beautiful hand crafted wooden sculptures represented Nature’s powerful elements; the sun, wind and water. Each element calls man to harness these natural sources of energy to power the world now to ensure the legacy of a low carbon future.
The drought-tolerant planting scheme revealed one possible extreme weather scenario – could this be the garden of the ‘Near Future’?
Famous Footprints on our Carbon Path
Charlie designed and created all three wooden sculptures and ten pairs of footprints featured in his Lake District studio, which exists to explore the relationship between materials, peoples and the environment. Charlie always works contextually and ecologically using beauty and innovation.
Visible Vortex of “Oil”
Visitors were invited to walk along NFG Carbon Path to an impactful installation that conveyed our total reliance and continual misuse of oil for our energy.
This “vortex of black “oil” slowly draining away symbolised how the continual burning of fossil fuels is depleting the earth of the essential carbon that it needs to balance increasing emissions.
This unique artistic interpretation of the impact of oil was conceived by Arit Anderson but built in conjunction with a specialist water feature company called Tills Innovations.
Renewable Energy Inspiration
A series of three hand-crafted wooden sculptures were created from the same oak tree as the wooden footprints to represent Nature’s powerful renewable energies; the sun, wind and water.
These were designed and created by Charlie Whinney to provide three dimensional structures that can be appreciated from two view-points. From one side of each beautiful sculpture, visitors view the elements of sun, wind and water calling to man as the climate shifts out of balance and these elements become more extreme.
From the other perspective, the view is of man responding to the urgent need to capture these precious natural resources in order to power the world to ensure a rapid move to a low carbon future for the survival of mankind.
Designs for the future
These unique design features were specially commissioned to convey the low carbon themes that NFG aims to communicate to all visitors.
The installation of these inspirational structures and features were managed by an expert landscape company called Landscape Associates who every year deliver many successful RHS Chelsea and Hampton Court Show Gardens.
Planting for an uncertain future
The plants chosen by the designer Arit Anderson were drought tolerant to reveal just one possible extreme weather scenario of the future as climate change affects our gardens. This is not to suggest that drought is likely to be the only future scenario for UK gardens but that extreme conditions are likely to prevail. The overall aim is to encourage gardeners to think carefully about their plant selection and how they might design their gardens both now and in the future.
The weather affects everything that grows and plants are having to adapt to shifting seasons and unpredictable weather ranging from extreme drought to monsoon rainfall. The UK growing season has actually lengthened on average by 29 days in the past ten years according to the Met Office bringing challenges and opportunities to UK gardeners.
Arit found inspiration for her plant selection from visiting Beth Chatto’s garden in Essex which has one of the largest collections of drought tolerant plants in the UK .
The majority of Arit’s carefully chosen plants were grown in Enriched Biochar by Carbon Gold at Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants in Hampshire. The nursery recently received its 21st RHS gold medal and Rosy Hardy is the first person to deliver a trade stand and a show garden together, winning Gold and Silver medals for both at RHS Chelsea 2016. This makes Rosy the holder of an impressive 22 medals, which means she clearly understands the importance of growing plants in excellent soil to deliver the high quality plants that are synonymous with RHS Flower Shows.
The final selection of plants included for RHS Hampton inspired visitors to think carefully about their choice of plants as the climate shifts and extreme weather conditions challenge the design and maintenance of all UK gardens.
These drought tolerant plants that adapt to lack of water all have individual qualities but three stand out as being of particular interest:
Limoniastrum monpetalatum ‘Carnaval’
Studies have shown that this plant is key in the rehabilitation of oil polluted soils. Nature is very adept at adapting to extreme conditions and always seeks to survive when challenged by unexpected situations.
This pretty flowering perennial is of Mediterranean origin, that is highly drought tolerance that like sandy free draining soil.
It is easily recognizable by the characteristic smell of bitumen from its leaves.
A versatile evergreen shrub from 1 to 5 m high that again demonstrates adaptability. This normally grows in dry and rocky areas in Mediterranean Europe, resists heavy frosts and can thrive in all types of soils. It equally grows well in limestone areas and even in salty or saline environments. Is this a plant to face an uncertain climatic future?
Lasting legacy of Near Future Garden
The aim for NFG was to ensure that the climate positive messages that inspired this Conceptual Garden can be clearly understood by as many people as possible.
The BBC donated 7 minutes of coverage to Near Future Garden and its climate change messages on the RHS Hampton Court 2016 coverage. This was seen by 1.2 million viewers.
Between 5th to 10th July over 10,000 visitors walked on NFG Carbon Path engaging with key low carbon messages for a renewable future.