Diarmuid Gavin plans giant shipping container garden for Gateshead

Garden designer Diarmuid Gavin is planning to build a garden on the banks of the River Tyne on Gateshead Quays.

The Urban Garden, which could be the largest container garden in the world, is planned to open in June 2018.

The plans for the Gateshead Quays Development aim to bring together cultural and social initiatives working alongside local businesses, creating a visitor destination for the 2018 Great Exhibition of the North and the Newcastle/Gateshead World Transplant Games in 2019.

Gavin’s designs comprise a walled terraced garden, created from 90 shipping containers set in rectangular form. They are inspired by the concept of a traditional walled garden, and are planted with ornamental and agricultural species. Internal vertical walls will be covered with a herbs, vegetables and ground-cover species.

The Irish designer planned a chocolate-themed shipping container garden for RHS Hampton Court Flower show in 2013 but could not find funding. He won gold at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2016 with a Harrods-sponsored garden.

Large specimen trees will include six-metre high, shaped Carpinus forming the primary architectural planting dotted throughout the multiple levels of the scheme, while groves of multi-stemmed birch will emerge from underplanted drifts of flowering perennials. 

'Fields' of wheat, corn and hops will be planted in potato crates at ground level and each container terrace will be adorned with individual mixed plantations of both ornamental and productive species. 

Gavin said; "I want this incredible living structure to create a sense of awe and to contribute to the rich tapestry of the area, representing its culture, innovation, artistic life and business nous. This is an attraction that builds on the heritage of the last great North-East Coast Exhibition which sets out a story of a proud history and a visionary future of Newcastle and Gateshead in particular."

It’s estimated that more than 200,000 people could visit the site annually. Up to 100 people would work at the site and the garden would be maintained by National Trust gardeners and volunteers.

The project is a commercially funded scheme which will be funded by private investment and commercial opportunities which is being raised by the developer.

Gateshead Council already has plans for Gateshead Quays which includes a 12,500 seat regional arena and conference and exhibition centre plus hotel, bars and restaurants which is due to open in 2021.

Gateshead Council Leader Martin Gannon said; "These are very exciting proposals which would certainly further energise Gateshead Quays.

"Not only would it bring even more visitors to Gateshead and indeed the region, but local entrepreneurs, social enterprises and local people would have the opportunity to be involved in a very unique horticultural project."

Sir Gary Verity, Great Exhibition of the North chair, said: "This ground-breaking project would be an exciting addition to our ambitious plans for Great Exhibition of the North. We’re looking forward to exploring how we can showcase great Northern art and culture, design and innovation through, and within the urban garden next summer."

The planning application for the scheme will be considered by Gateshead Council’s planning committee later this year.

 


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