2015 Wildflower Turf Round Up – Meadow Icons

2015 was a very special year at Wildflower Turf for many reasons, but there were 3 projects that really stood out as ‘Meadow Icons’. All were very different, but it is fair to say that each will have had a huge impact on the way in which wildflower meadows are viewed by people from around the world. The messages that these iconic wildflower projects were promoting included the embracing of ‘wilder’ design in gardens and green spaces, the positive effects that wildflower meadows can have on health and well-being and the importance of wildflowers as a food source for our pollinators, that in turn help to sustain food resources for our global population.
First up is the RHS Chelsea 2015 ‘Best in Show’.
The return of Dan Pearson to RHS Chelsea was eagerly awaited, with his interpretation of the Paxton gardens at the Chatsworth Estate in Derbyshire. Dan has always been known for his ‘wild’ gardens and has long been the flag bearer for garden design inspired by nature. It was therefore with great excitement that we accepted the challenge to grow a native wildflower turf for this particular project.
With just 6 days to go before the show the site was finally ready to receive the turf. As with the Olympic Opening Ceremony, the only way to transport the turf was on stillages, allowing the contractors to lay directly onto site without damaging the meadow.
CElbv4dWYAAgxldThe turf was laid in a week of full sun and required constant watering to bed in, but within 6 days the turf looked perfect with plenty of campion and ragged robin flowering at just the right moment. The wildflower turf formed the basis for large sections of the garden with plug plants such as the candelabra primula (Primula ‘Inverewe’) and aconite buttercup (Ranunculus Aconitifolius) looking at home in the mix.
Chelsea 14
Undoubtedly to bring a show garden of this magnitude together in such a short period of time is not for the feint hearted and the attention to detail was breath-taking with the Crocus team working tirelessly to get the garden to perfection. The result of Dan Pearson’s passion for naturalism and his skill as a designer inspired this meeting point of nature and horticulture and a garden on the wild side, even though it was entirely man-made. He hoped that by stepping into this garden you felt closer to nature and without a doubt you did. It is the balance of macro and micro design that leads to outstanding gardens. The macro view with the huge boulders forming the hard landscaping balanced the micro detail that can be seen in the complex communities of wildflowers seen in the smallest six inch square of ground space. This understanding and unending attention to detail resulted in a stand out winner and ‘Best in Show’ at RHS Chelsea 2015.
It was a privilege to be involved in this project and watch the public reaction to something that was far from the normal manicured plots that tend to dominate the garden design world. This was a ground breaking project, placing nature and biodiversity at the top of the list for garden trends in the coming years whilst reinforcing a wider interest and awareness for wildflowers in general. 161,000 people visited the show this year and millions were glued to the coverage on the television.
Dan Pearson 2 Dan Pearson 7 Dan Pearson 6 Dan Pearson 5
Providing a ‘wild’ outlook for patients at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital
2015 was a year in which there was much publicity about the health benefits of immersing yourself in green spaces. For those less able and with poor health it is often difficult to get out into parks and wilder spaces. When the architects of the new Alder Hey Hospital were planning the building, they asked patients and their families what they would most like to be incorporated within the design. For many, it was to be able to look out onto flowers and have access to nature, and so they came up with a brilliant design incorporating play decks on every level that were surrounded with wildflowers. It is an outstanding project and you can see how the hospital was built on the Alder Hey website.
alder hey balcony
We were asked to grow over 5000m² of a bespoke Wildflower Turf to cover the roof, walls and surrounding area of Alder Hey, working with one of our accredited installers, ABG Geo Synthetics. The turf was laid through the late summer and autumn and so wasn’t flowering at the time of opening in October but we are so excited to see pictures of the play decks in the coming year, when the children are able to finally get up close to nature whilst playing.IMG_0023
Alder Hey October 2015 ii  Alder Hey October 2015  FullSizeRender8    Royal Visit
And finally…the UK Pavilion at the Milan Expo 2015
The World Expo 2015 had a core theme of Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life. It aimed to highlight one of the most pressing challenges of our time – how to feed and sustain an expected rise in the world’s population to 9 billion by 2050. The UK pavilion created a stand-out Pavilion inspired by the journey of the honey bee, highlighting the vital role of pollination in the global food chain. The UK Pavilion took you on an immersive journey through a British orchard and wildflower meadow, before entering a 14 metre high hive.
milan 2
Never before had we the opportunity to create a meadow as far south as Milan and also face the challenge of keeping it flowering into October. With clever maintenance cuts and essential watering the meadow looked stunning for 6 months. This was an outstanding project for many reasons. The Pavilion welcomed 3.3 million visitors during the 6 month international exhibition and visited by the top dignitaries from around the world. It was awarded a total of seven different awards on a global scale, but most importantly it won the BIE Gold Award for Architecture and Landscape Design.
This was quite simply an inspirational project, highlighting the importance of our pollinators and pushing that message out to millions of people from around the world.
Pavilion design by Wolfgang Buttress and installed by Stage One.
In the hive   James Visit to milan