Horticulture students from the college have this year looked to the past for inspiration for their garden, which will be on show in the Great Pavilion, and brought a Victorian idea right up to date with their modern take on a stumpery, the college said.
A stumpery is an arrangement of tree stumps, logs and timber with appropriate planting in and around them, such as ferns, mosses and fungi. Typically the tree stumps are placed upside-down or on their sides to show the beauty and complexity of the root systems.
Sarah Seery, head of horticulture and landscaping at the college said: "The Chelsea garden was inspired by The Stumpery that we built at our Gunnersbury Park campus last year with our Level 1 Horticulture students. A stumpery adds an attractive and interesting dimension to a garden and is the perfect spot for many shade-loving plants. A stumpery is an ideal way to recycle tree stumps rather than having them removed from your garden. By re-using logs and old stumps it creates the perfect habitat for beneficial insects, decomposers and micro beasts like the endangered stag beetle."
The Capel garden will also show how logs can be used in food production with the use of Hugelkulture and also growing edible mushrooms on logs. Hugelkulture is the practice of burying a log and planting above it. As the log decomposes it both retains moisture and releases nutrients into the ground, allowing plants such as Alpine strawberries to thrive. Capel’s mushroom logs are impregnated with Shitakke and Oyster mushroom spores and the College are using a range of methods to encourage them to fruit in time for the show.
The RHS Chelsea Flower Show takes place at the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, between 19 and 23 May and Capel’s own Stumpery at Gunnersbury Park will be open to the public as part of the National Gardens Scheme on Saturday 13 June.