Sussex landscape designer, Maximillian Parker-Smith, from Warnham, West Sussex has been awarded one of only a handful of the prestigious RHS opportunities to design and build a show garden for Tatton Flower Show 2021, which runs from 21st to 25th July.
The finalists are selected from young landscape designers by a panel of judges from the RHS who are looking for new and innovative designs with a strong and relevant message. For Max, of Maximillian Design, the city based garden design aims to question our relationship with the natural world and how we perceive it. He has a strong belief that when one enters a garden you are entering into a shared space with the hundreds of others species that inhabit it. Therefore you owe them attention, a level of respect and duty of care. Max says: “It is about balancing one’s own desire to dominate the space whilst appreciating the benefit of sharing it. City gardens, in particular, habitually try and control the tight confines of the space which often results in the eradication of the natural habitat for other species.” Max tries to rebalance this relationship.
The 60 square metres show garden, called The Earth Garden, is divided into two areas; the main area overflows with lush planting that spills over the pathways favouring larger spaces for the indigenous wildlife whilst minimising that for humans. This includes a modestly-sized dining area with bespoke furniture made from up-cycled wooden scaffold boards framed by a lime rendered Hempcrete wall, topped by a weather mild steel coping, sandwiched between clipped Yew hedging.
The planting is made up of an exciting blend of natural and informal textured and shapely plants grouped into clear big blocks. The planting is to offer and attract a plethora of wildlife whose habitat is constantly shrinking in the city. A central archway links this area with a smaller Garden Room which has a more paired back feel.
This is a clean uncluttered space with a carpet of shingle from which a solo paperbark maple stands proud and its shadow is randomly punctuated with underplanting of small grasses and woodland flowers. Two lounging chairs sit low to the ground which emphasises the height and presence of the tree which add to the casualness and tranquillity of the space.
The entire garden creates a number of interesting spaces whilst using modest materials and then letting the planting speak for itself. Max says: “It is also important that we understand the impact our gardens can have both negatively and positively on other species. There are great alternative and more sustainable materials gradually coming onto the market that I believe deserve our attention. It is more than possible to create beautiful and stylish gardens that are considered and well informed which can help contribute to the abundance of both ourselves and the habitats of smaller creatures.”
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