The Landscape Show. London, September 2017
The Landscape Show is annual event in London for anyone involved in the design, construction, and maintenance of gardens of all sizes. What is instantly obvious from the moment that you walk into the show is the amazing diversity of different things that you can use a garden for, and therefore the amazing diversity of things that you can put in it. Plants are an obvious component of a garden and wholesale nurseries were well represented but a recurrent problem that designers have is finding the rarer species.
Among the plants being displayed were lawns. However, this was not just your standard hardwearing lawn made out of perennial rye grass. There were a lot of artificial lawns on display, but far more interesting was the wild flower lawn. This is for people who want a wild flower area in their garden, but who want a simpler solution than sowing the meadow. You choose a plant mix suitable for your soil, and the turf arrives with the non-grass plants already growing in it. If you are still determined to sow your wild flower area, there are far more species available now than there were 10 years ago when I sowed mine. It is now even possible to buy “lawn” for green rooves.
The range of garden “furniture” now available is huge. This includes everything from wooden benches and decking to lights and containers. The unifying feature of these products is the emphasis on a low environmental impact. The wooden products are now all either from recycled timber or from plantations that are harvested at a sustainable rate. The lighting is all low voltage etc. In line with the sustainability ethos of design, there are now many manufacturers of bike stores for every style of bike and style of garden.
The only area of the show that may be unsustainable is irrigation. Crops and plants in containers will need to be irrigated sometimes. However, the irrigation of borders and lawns is surely something that we should be moving away from. There are so many different plants in cultivation now, that there will always be a plant which does not need watering suitable for every situation. The installation of a permanent irrigation system could be seen as a failure of the designer to cope with the site.
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