Cutting-edge technology was at the heart of the new Discovery Zone at Chelsea this year. The Zone aimed to offer visitors an insight into the efforts being made to conserve and protect the world around us.
The Butterfly Effect
For the first time, visitors were able to experience a garden from a butterfly’s point of view, through an immersive multi-sensory visual experience within The Butterfly Effect exhibit. This feature, presented by Our Planet in a 360-degree auditorium, transported people into the world of the butterfly, flying high over the English countryside and exploring deep into our gardens. It focused on the crucial role butterflies play as garden pollinators, the challenges they face and how gardeners can help them to survive and thrive.
Technology and biology combined in the Oliver Jennings & Damanhur exhibit to show visitors the nature of variation caused to plants, by the smallest of environmental changes. Through soundtracks and videos, produced directly from the electromagnetic frequencies of the plants within the exhibit, visitors witnessed what can actually affect a plant. It showed how position, light and water affect plants at a microscopic level.
Recycle and reuse
Alloment gardeners enjoyed the Leeds and District Allotment Gardeners Federation display, which showed a working allotment using materials that were mostly recycled. It showed how to grow food imaginatively, cheaply and with style in a small space using readily available recycled materials and technical innovations.
FERA’s Plants Need Passports too! display, meanwhile, featured large models of key tree and plant pests made from woven willow. The aim was to illustrate three ways tree pests and diseases could inadvertently be brought to the UK. The exhibit also addressed the relevant issue of outbreaks of breeding oak processionary moths in southern England.
Can colour combat crop pests?
The Rothamsted Research Institute's Petals & Pests: Using flowers to control insects in crops display demonstrated how altering petal colour can decrease pest numbers on crops. It showed how the inclusion of flowering plants in and around the edge of crop fields can regulate pest populations by providing food and habitats for their natural enemies.
Other highlights included Groundwork's reclaimed timber enclosure for storytelling and education and Miracle-Gro joining forces with schoolchildren to exhibit a vegetable garden and two themed flowering gardens showing how different growing conditions can change the way plants grow.
The Discovery Zone was sponsored by show sponsors M&G Investments.