Kew teams up with The Times for Chelsea 2011
Kew is delighted to announce that it is working in partnership with The Times to create a garden showcasing the significance of plants to science and society, through an eye-catching and innovative design by Chelsea gold medallist Marcus Barnett.
15 Jan 2011
The Times Eureka Garden in association with the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew - design by Marcus Barnett.
The plant species chosen for the show garden at Chelsea Flower Show 2011 will demonstrate both beauty and utility. They will have uses such as medicinal, commercial and industrial to underline the fact that plants are invaluable to our everyday lives – without them, none of us could live on this planet; they produce our food, clothing and the air that we breathe.
We are truly honoured to have been given this platform, at one of the most celebrated horticultural events in the world, from which we can exhibit a selection of vital species that help and contribute to science and to our lives in general.Professor Stephen Hopper, Director of The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
Plants are essential
The notion of plants as essential contributors to life on earth motivates much of Kew’s work around the globe. Kew’s scientists and conservationists are working to ensure that the plants that protect our environment continue to thrive, and that their usefulness for mankind is harnessed and enhanced.
We maintain the world’s largest Herbarium, one of the world’s most important botanical reference libraries and probably the most diverse living collection of plants in the world. We also lead the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership, a global collaboration operating in more than 50 countries. It is the largest ex-situ conservation project in the world and we have already banked the seeds of 10% of the world’s plant species.
A shared passion for plants and the environment
This is the first show garden that Kew has had at Chelsea in many years. The partnership between The Times and Kew, celebrates a shared commitment to science. The Times is the only national newspaper to have a dedicated monthly science magazine – it launched Eureka in October 2009, which every month devotes 60 pages to covering science, life and the environment.
Professor Stephen Hopper, Director of The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, says “As an organisation, the future and security of the planet’s plants is very close to our heart, and we are continuously dedicated to conveying this message to decision makers and to the general public as a whole. We are therefore truly honoured to have been given this platform, at one of the most celebrated horticultural events in the world, from which we can exhibit a selection of vital species that help and contribute to science and to our lives in general.”
The Times is delighted to be hosting its first garden at the Chelsea Flower Show, which reflects our passion for exploring and understanding the environment around us.James Harding, Editor of The Times
Commenting on their shared project at Chelsea, James Harding, Editor of The Times, said, “The Times is delighted to be hosting its first garden at the Chelsea Flower Show, which reflects our passion for exploring and understanding the environment around us - from what makes a beautiful and harmonious garden to the underlying science of plant ecology to the pressing environmental issues of conservation and sustainability that are so central to public debate today. What better place to reflect and take inspiration than in a garden at Chelsea.”
Relocating to Kew Gardens
This show garden will be relocated to Kew Gardens following the Chelsea Flower Show (subject to funding and planning agreement), giving an opportunity for anyone who missed Chelsea to see the garden over the summer months. Visitors to Kew will have the added benefit of being able to walk through the garden and to see it against the majestic backdrop of Kew’s historic, UNESCO World Heritage Site landscape, and to see many more beautiful, useful and rare plants in Kew’s gardens and iconic glasshouses.
Marcus Barnett's design
A prize winning graduate in landscape design, Marcus Barnett established his own design practice and went on to win two RHS Gold Medals at the Chelsea Flower Show in 2005 and 2006 and a Silver Gilt in 2007. For this new modern garden, Marcus will draw inspiration from plant cells and leaf capillaries, and for the centre piece, a glasshouse, from Kew’s stunning heritage buildings, such as the Palm House.
The garden pavilion will be designed to be a contemporary and light space serving as a destination from which to view the garden. The capillaries will radiate along the ground and, in places, rise up the boundary hedging, helping to demonstrate the link between plant and materials. The boundary walls will provide seclusion and act as a counterpoint and backdrop to the trees.
Marcus Barnett says, “I have never learnt as much about plants as I have since we embarked on this design. The depth of their involvement in our everyday life is extraordinary and the inroads we are making in bioplastics material innovation is equally fascinating. The combination and resonance of these vital elements will be realised when we build the garden in May.”
For the design of the pavilion Marcus Barnett collaborated with award winning architectural practice NEX, whose experience in designing innovative structures and working on projects in the public realm made them an ideal partner. Sussex based, The Outdoor Room, are the main contractors for building the show garden.
Plants in focus
The plants that will feature in the garden have been chosen according to their contribution to society.
These include foxgloves (Digitalis x mertonensis), which can be used in the treatment for cardiac disease, and geraniums (Geranium sanguineum), often used as a diuretic and to treat kidney complaints – the leaves of which can also be used as mosquito repellent. Other plants that will be used are salvias (Salvia blancoana), which is used as a treatment for diseases of the central nervous system, roses (Rosa webbiana), commonly used by the cosmetics industry and by drinks manufacturers, and rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) - this 'wonder-herb' has been used variously as a medicine, food preservative, stimulant, memory enhancer, and of course as a flavoursome cooking ingredient. Explore more plants and fungi with Kew.
Help Kew look after one of the most beautiful gardens in the world
Recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003, Kew is the guardian of two stunning gardens - the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in Surrey and Wakehurst Place in West Sussex, the home of Kew's Millennium Seed Bank.
Kew’s history is interwoven with royal heritage, outstanding garden design and world class scientific endeavours. By making a donation to Kew today, you can help us look after our gardens for generations to enjoy. Find out more about where your money goes.
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