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I Beg Your Pardon, Prince Charles Promised You An Eco-Garden!
 by: Ian McCoy





As our readers are aware, we are avid followers of His Royal Highness, Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales. We have recently reported the journey that our innovative Prince is taking to promote sustainable living which touched on the garden party designed to make a difference.

‘A Garden Party to Make a Difference’ will be the ultimate gardening event for the Eco-conscious and will run from 8 - 19 September 2010 in The Prince of Wales private gardens at Clarence House and the gardens of neighbouring Lancaster House and Marlborough House. The event is part of The Prince of Wales’ ‘Start’ initiative launched earlier this year.

Garden Designers Tom Petherick, Lulu Urquhart and Adam Hunt have pulled their joint expertise together to create a future orientated landscape design practice and this show will be the launch pad. Their installation is entitled ‘Future Cities Garden’ and will dominate the South facade of St James’s Palace.

The aim of the twelve day event is to engage visitors via exhibits that will demonstrate that everyone can work towards a more sustainable way of life in a variety of ways. Tom, Lulu and Adam will show that gardening in small spaces is both possible, desirable and can transform a space no matter how small. This exhibit is in essence an ABC of how to grow edible plants no matter how inclement the British weather is and regardless of season.

Apples will be shown growing in containers and as trained fruit. This quintessential English fruit comes in all shapes, sizes, flavours and fruits from late summer with some varieties storing right through the winter. They are easy to grow in pots, against walls and fences, and in any soil and of course their health benefits are well known - let’s not forget the old adage about an apple a day!

Traditional vegetables and edible & medicinal flowers and will show how everyday items that are cheap or recycled can be used to create innovative and funky growing spaces, both vertically and horizontally. Lettuce is the subject of one of the vertical ‘green wall’ installations. It is the mainstay of the summer garden and the anchor in millions of summer salads. At the show it can be seen growing in all its variations proving its versatility and simplicity of cultivation. Even tiny gardens have walls to work with, so why not make them green and edible.

For underutilized vertical spaces runner beans are perfect as they grow quickly and love to climb. Once a staple in the meat and two veg diet of a bygone era runners have come right back into fashion. They crop heavily, love our climate, and return nitrogen to the soil, what’s not to love? Our most beloved of beans will be seen growing in a variety of different containers, notably oil drum halves.

Chillies are very easy to grow and well suited to pots. They make excellent plants for a small space because they are mostly compact and ordered in shape. Also there is something within the heat range to suit everyone. They are perfect for a sunny windowsill.

Bamboo is a highly versatile plant – the canes used as supports for tall plants but also Bamboo. Phyllostachys dulcis and P. edulis have delicious edible shoots used particularly in Chinese cooking. The bamboo will make up the middle storey of the Forest Garden because of its shade tolerance.

In the same area we will be showing the edible Japanese Ginger (Zingiber myoga) this is the perfect plant for the ginger that accompanies sushi. The flowers are also prized as both edible and ornamental. It grows to one metre in height and will also be part of the forest garden. A hardy plant that is shade tolerant this ginger is likely to become ever more prominent in years to come.

Herbs are expensive to buy yet vital kitchen ingredients and the display will show a large variety including a wide range of thymes which are excellent evergreen plants for both containers and small spaces. Plant up a whole variety and they will smell great in a green wall and are also good insect attractants - thymes are of particular interest to bees and this is good for the general health of the garden. See them in the green walls and dotted around in pots that can be brought indoors for ease of harvest.

The humble tomato is the perfect starter fruit for novice gardeners because they are so easy to grow and present few problems. Home grown tomatoes are a staple guaranteed to give a good return and with a flavour unrecognizable from the shop-bought fruit. They work well in pots, indoors and in the garden.

Radishes are a cinch to grow – sprinkle a few seeds in Spring and wait for that first crunch followed by hot cheeks! Summer has arrived! Yam. (Dioscorea batatas) is for the more adventurous gardener, it’s a climber like its close relative the sweet potato. Popular in the Caribbean and South America but increasingly finding its way into UK diets. It grows well in pots likes the sun but will not survive frost.

The exhibit by Petherick, Urquhart and Hunt will show a rhythmical display that follows the seasons. Novice gardeners will learn how to convert existing spaces on to a more sustainable footing. Visitors can learn how to convert space and containers into growing areas. The overall aim of the team is to provide an attraction that encapsulates the show philosophy of getting people in cities growing plants, growing food, loving plants and being more sustainably aware.

The ethos underling this new association of Petherick, Urquhart and Hunt is about building a consultancy with a point of difference that will champion sustainable, spiritually intact gardens and working landscapes with integrity.

Tickets, priced £15 for adults and £7.50 for children are on sale now. Full details are available on the Garden Party website www.startgardenparty.co.uk

The Prince of Wales launched the Start initiative at Manchester’s Museum of Science and Industry on 4th February 2010. Start aims to help people across the UK take small steps towards a more sustainable lifestyle and to demonstrate what a more energy efficient, cleaner and healthier future could look like.

The initiative is backed by leading businesses such as Addison Lee, Asda, B&Q, BT Group, EDF Energy, IBM UK and Ireland, M&S, Virgin Money and Waitrose.

For more information about Start go to www.startuk.org

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About The Author

Ian McCoy

University Education, Author

The comprehensive site to educate and inform on all issues environmental

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