Conservation garden designers in Kickstarter plea for Malvern project

Tessa and Caitlin McLaughlin have officially been accepted to exhibit a 'Festival' category show garden as part of the Royal Horticultural Society's Malvern Spring Festival, 7 - 10 May 2015 - but need to raise £4,000 by 2 February via funding website Kickstarter to get the project started.

Tessa McLaughlin said: "Caitlin and I have caught the attention of the RHS through our unconventional approach to creating a show garden, using our natural creativity, passion and scientific background. 

"We are an all-female team under the age of 25, breaking the mould of a 'traditional' RHS exhibitor. The judges have been extremely positive about our designs so far, praising the concept and the contrast between wild planting and urban-inspired hard landscaping.  

"Our show garden's message and focus is on the conservation of UK Crop Wild Relatives (CWRs).  These are wild plants related to major food crops, such as wheat and barley, and hold a wealth of genetic traits, for example drought tolerance, which are essential for future food security. 

"However as they are traditionally considered weeds they are overlooked and in need of conservation.  Using these species within traditional breeding programs and cross-breeding with cultivated varieties can help alleviate the pressures of climate change, pests and diseases.

Added McLaughlin: "This garden will highlight key UK CWR species, their importance, and also the need for identification and targeted conservation in genetic reserves. Our garden message will take traditional conservation targeted show gardens a step further by focusing on why these plants are important not just for UK biodiversity but also for providing a sustainable food future for us.

The budget for the garden is £7,000 and the RHS has provided £3,000.


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