This Main Avenue Show Garden was supported by Project Giving Back for The Royal Entomology Society and was awarded an RHS-Silver-Gilt Medal.
It aimed to highlight the importance of the role we, the public, play in creating and preserving habitats for insects, through the plants we cultivate and the protection of existing ones.
Many species are under threat; well known insects such as butterflies and bees often steal the limelight. However the insect kingdom homes thousands of species and some less popular insects such as moths and beetles are often overlooked. Insects, the same as all animals, are vital to our overall ecosystem.
The inspiration for this RES garden was found on British brownfield sites. These spaces are full of biodiversity and beauty. Brownfield sites must be considered as vital areas for wildlife, for both animal and plant to thrive. With over 80% of the British population of insects now living in urban areas it is crucial to utilise different areas, which the RES demonstrated within the garden to offer a safe haven for life. Insect sanctuaries included gabions filled with waste material, rammed earth floors and walls and piles of rubble.
The central feature of this garden was the alfresco laboratory. The convex roof was inspired by the compound eye of an insect. Constructed using hundreds of laser cut hexagonal panels, the structure spans an impressive 7m in diameter. For relocation, the structure can be 'flat-packed' which allows replication of similar structures at other RES locations.
The entry to the garden featured a drought resistant planting scheme, including many species of plants which would often be found in brownfield sites. Some weeds were included, such as clover, dandelions, knapweed and vetch as well as some non-native plants which provided food sources for pollinators. Hazel was added as a key food for caterpillars.
The rear of the garden featured a more naturalistic planting scheme inspired by meadows and woodland. Trees were also chosen for their beneficial qualities, such as silver birch and hawthorn which can support over 300 insect species.
The show garden has been relocated to IQL Stratford, at the gateway to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, which will provide a permanent resource for RES to host events, educate and inspire for years to come.
Photography: Landscape Associates