The Back to Back gardens made a welcome return to Tatton in 2015, having last made an appearance at the Cheshire show back in 2012. The brief for designers was to create big ideas for small spaces.
Andrew Rouse, for instance, in his Slow & Preserve garden created a design for a damp and shady garden, where a boundary wall aims to preserve as much water as possible and creates a home for wetland plants. The importance of slowing urban run-off and its impact on the environment was also tackled.
The Hermit’s Garden, by Anthony O’Grady, and built by staff from Adlington Hall Gardens, harked back to an 18th century tradition of accommodating a hermit in the Wilderness Garden at the Cheshire country house. However, a modern spin offered a narrow ‘infinity’ path for exercise and meditation.
Melitta by Andrew Walker was also designed to attract bees, with a blaze of colourful perennials, hexagonal sculptures representing honeycomb and a bench designed to create a space for contemplation.
Black Pepper by Ben Edward Design took visitors back to the Industrial Revolution, to show how urbanisation started to encroach on rural habitats in the North West. The diagonal waterways represented the Bridgewater Canal. Urban Space by Frazer McDonagh was the answer to urbanisation – a small courtyard offering a place to connect with nature away from the city. Inspired by the new oriental style within Asian architecture, limestone was used for the seating and paving, and planting was kept simple, focusing on foliage texture and form with no flowers.
In the Cloud 9 Kitchen Garden another urban space was transformed into a kitchen garden where food can be harvested and cooked on the spot.
A more romantic design was brought to bear in Barry Grain’s A Midsummer Night’s Theme with its woodland-style planting and temple ruin and pool adding atmosphere. From woodland to coastland, with Clive Scott’s Surf ‘n’ Turf garden, which evoked the surf and coast using clever plant combinations. Salt-tolerant plants created the illusion of waves with white and cream for the froth and blue and purple ‘waves’.
Janet Leigh’s Connecting Cheshire was a contemporary stylised image of a rural environment, with LED light pathways representing the take-up of superfast fibre broadband. Rosy Hues, from Peter Shirley of Fryer’s Roses, was both contemporary and timeless, and sought to rekindle the romance of roses.
Another garden for quiet contemplation was A Quiet Corner, designed by Sarah Jarman and Anna Murphy, which featured a curved swathe of grasses that led visitors to an enclosed seating area.
Finally, a low-maintenance front garden was designed for the Bring Me Sunshine Garden by Ginkgo Garden Design. Created for a widow to use as a space for gentle craft pursuits, contemplation or an al fresco breakfast or morning coffee chat with a friend. Lush, fragrant herbs and flowers came in muted blues, lilacs and pinks.