RHS Spring Plant and Design Show, Victoria, London. Fire and Ice Balcony design
A fellow student from Capel Manor College and I have had a design accepted for the RHS Spring Plant and Design Show, 16th and 17th February. The theme is 'The 25-mile balcony', the idea being that all plants and materials would be sourced within 25 miles of the RHS HQ in Vincent Square, London SW1, to promote ecological choices with low 'air miles'. Originally it was 20 miles, but even so this has been a tough brief, with lots of research to find plants that nurseries grow themselves (so much comes from Holland and Italy), and that would look good in February. Plants have to be able to be in situ for at least 12 months.
Planting choices were inspired by adaptation to dry conditions and suitability for containers on a sunny balcony. Visits to nurseries established some key plants. A Fire and Ice theme emerged. Key plants Libertia and Convolvulus lead to fresh associations for year-round interest.
The traditional frontage of the balcony set provided and the 25-mile rule suggested London salvage for containers and materials: ceramic Belfast sinks, terracotta chimney pots, cast iron wall-mounted rain hoppers. The materials, forged in intense fire but cool for many years, complement the plant textures and colours. The sinks are from a Stockwell school, the chimneys from a Clapham mansion block and the hoppers from a Chelsea house. All plants were sourced from nurseries within 25 miles of SW1.
I'm a grower, gardener and qualified designer living and working in South London. I teach horticulture at Capel Manor College, at their site in Regent's Park, and I coordinate the volunteers of Garden Organic's South London Master Gardener programme.
Please visit my business website to find out about how the garden design and horticulture training services I offer - vivekagardens.com
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