RHS City Spaces: Cloudscape

Seven innovative gardens, co-designed by Manchester students and the Cloud Gardener, take on the challenges of urban gardening

Jason Williams on City Spaces
Coming to the RHS Urban Show in Manchester, Cloudscape with The Cloud Gardener, is an exciting and innovative space created by young and aspiring designers, exploring how we bring horticulture into the heart of our towns and cities.

The seven gardens in the Cloudscape development are designed collaboratively, showing that by working together, everyone can benefit from urban greening.

Challenging environments and authorities

Visitors looking around City Spaces
Cloudscape is about finding solutions by encouraging young people into horticulture, addressing different residents’ needs, microclimates and pay brackets. Cloudscape also calls on horticultural retail, local authorities and developers to rethink how they interact with communities.

“A blueprint of how we can bring a city together”
– Jason Williams (aka The Cloud Gardener)

There are a number of practical challenges small space gardeners face, from the environmental conditions they are working with to matters of budget, space and restrictions – such as rental properties. Different gardens within the project are designed to answer these questions and provide inventive solutions.

Balcony gardens

North Balcony South Balcony
East Balcony West Balcony

Four balcony gardens, each facing a different direction, to cover varying aspects, are co-designed by students from Manchester Metropolitan University as part of their Rise programme.

Each of the balcony gardens have a budget of £500 and students from courses all over the campus have volunteered to be a part of this project. They will construct the gardens and relocate them back to campus after the show, documenting the wildlife and crop yields of the gardens.

Shady patio

Shade planting in containersA north facing shady patio has been co designed with Notcutts Garden Centre. The garden will show what can be done in a small rented home with full shade, and will be relocated to the store in Ashton, Manchester.

More from the RHS 

Container gardening

Container planting
Jason Williams will be holding container garden workshops to demonstrate the opportunities growing in pots opens up. From choosing the best type of container for your plants, style and budget, to learning about growing mediums and watering routines. Containers are especially adaptable for rented gardens, as they are transportable and negate the need to create permanent beds.

Communal gardening

Community gardening

An urban farm and communal garden, co-designed with Plant Co-operative Cic, provides an example to city developers of how they could implement a community garden as part of plans for new and existing developments.

Visitors on communal garden
Encouraging developers to move away from lacklustre planting and traditional maintenance contracts provides opportunities to bring people together through gardening and helps strengthen communities, improves mental health and provides new habitats for urban wildlife. After the show, both the farm and the garden will be relocated to a local school.

Jason Williams on City SpacesJason Williams says: “The concept as a whole is ambitious but it is a blueprint of how we can bring a city together. These are not show gardens, they are learning exhibits designed to teach residents, local authorities, retail and developers how we can all improve to make our towns and cities greener.”

You might also be interested in...

RHS Membership

Members enjoy early booking and discounted tickets to RHS Shows.

Join the RHS

Get involved

The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.