Sunday, 10 February 2013

Hampton Court Flower Show 2012

In 2012 Pretty Nostalgic won a RHS Silver medal for our show garden, Preserving the Community, at the Hampton Court Palace Flower ShowThis garden was designed to show how you can bring disused land back to life for the benefit of the community. It’s about creating and preserving a caring, sharing community where nothing goes to waste
We converted an old tin field shelter shed into a preserving kitchen where surplus fruit and vegetables can be turned into jams, pickles, preserves and wine. A dining area offers somewhere for neighbours to share their meals. Most of the space is taken up by a jewel-coloured cutting garden, grown from donated and surplus seeds and seedlings; the flowers from the garden are used to brighten up community spaces such as the library, surgery or school.

Upcycled gardening

Very little in the garden has been sourced from new.

The picket fence is made from recycled pallet lids

The decking is made from old scaffold planks

The lovely table is made from an old Victorian panelled door and covered with a mosaic made from broken china.

The pots are all made from unusual salvaged and upcycled items, such as old colanders making hanging baskets, an old pig-feeding trough for growing sweetpeas and reclaimed clay moulds planted with herbs.

The path covered with homemade wood chippings.

Two old coopered barrels make a double decker water butt

Reclaimed bricks and an old slate shelf make a bench.

The Honesty box shop

Just outside the fence, there’s a community shop selling products made in the preserving kitchen: excess fruit and vegetables, local eggs, seeds harvested from the neighbourhood, seedlings, plants and cut flowers from the garden. As well as helping redistribute produce that would be wasted. Proceeds from the sales would go towards the running of the garden and buying the raw ingredients for preserving, such as sugar and vinegar. Any excess money each year is used to purchase something for the community, such as fruit trees or a communal barbecue.

Make do and mend planting

We chose our plants with a ‘making the best of it’ approach, picking plants for their cutting, edible, medicinal, dying and preserving uses: hops for brewing; a herb garden in upcycled colanders; salad plants in pots and a community cutting garden. It resulted in a wonderfully eclectic display.

The Preserving Kitchen

There are often gluts in growing communities: a large apple tree that produces far too many apples for one family to use; a busy mum with no time to use the black currants from her garden and then all of those wild foods, such as hazel nuts and blackberries, which could be put to good use with a bit of co-ordination.
The preserving shed showed how you could use up any spare produce by making jams, pickles, preserves and wine. There’s a vintage enamel log burning range, fuelled by scrap wood and hedge trimmings. All the glass jars, containers, newspapers and string were collected and reused – nothing is wasted and very little was bought new.

Huge congratulations to publisher and editor-in-chief Nicole Burnett for designing and coordinating the garden and massive thank you to RHS award-winning garden designer Anthea Guthrie, garden salvage seller and stylist Cath Jones, Chris Williams, Chris and Sarah Legg for all their support. And special thanks to Barcham Trees for donating the trees and Authentico for kindly supplying the chalk paint. 
Photos by Jen Hardy.

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