Civic pride overcomes austerity for show design

Sponsorship contributes to medal-winning Chelsea displays by councils from Stoke and Birmingham.

Stoke-on-Trent garden is show debutant - photo: HW
Stoke-on-Trent garden is show debutant - photo: HW

Local authorities and similar bodies battled austerity to show civic pride at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

Stoke-on-Trent Council raised nearly £300,000 by value from sponsorship to show for the first time, winning silver for its Story of Transformation.

The design, using materials and services donated by local businesses, featured a decaying bottle kiln and sculpted fire pit, representing the city's past, unfolded through curves and spirals to a modern sunken seating area promoting the town's Central Business District. The garden was built by Bartholomew Landscaping.

Design team member Matthew Unwin said: "We want to put Stoke-on-Trent on the map and say we're open for business. We've got a fantastic skill force and fantastic connections, but a lot of unemployment."

The project involved the whole community, promoting local skills and industries, with white bricks and ceramic flowers made by retired pottery makers working with local children.

Design head Annita Gibson said the project was "a partnership" between council and industry: "To do this from local authority side presents a big challenge. The main thing you need is time."

The Enlightenment display by Birmingham City Council also mostly relied on sponsorship. It promotes the forthcoming opening of the £188.8m Library of Birmingham in September through the work of authors, Benjamin Zephaniah, Annie Murray and JRR Tolkien, and won a Gold Medal.

A representative for the local authority said: "Birmingham City Council's award-winning display cost £35,000 of which £30,000 was provided through generous sponsorship.

"The display will also be on show at the BBC Gardeners' World Live show at the NEC next month before moving to Centenary Square in front of the new Library of Birmingham, bringing additional visits to the city, so it represents incredible value for money."

Boost for tourism

Welcome to Yorkshire's Le Jardin de Yorkshire was created to promote the Tour de France coming to the county in 2014. Chief executive Gary Verity said he saw a direct link between exhibiting at Chelsea for the past four years and an increase in British tourists in Yorkshire.


Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Read These Next

Opinion... Healthy trees work harder for longer

Opinion... Healthy trees work harder for longer

UK satellite images after heavy rain show river estuaries engulfed by massive swirls of muddy-brown water extending out into the surrounding ocean blue. It is soil scoured from our mismanaged land because of Government policies that focus on food production at the expense of sustainability.

Horticulture careers - plugging the skills gap

Horticulture careers - plugging the skills gap

Bespoke apprenticeships and internal training are helping firms to get ahead in skills-shortage horticulture, says Rachel Anderson.

Sargent's solutions - how to turn the loss of a key member of staff into a positive

Sargent's solutions - how to turn the loss of a key member of staff into a positive

Losing a valued member of staff can be a positive opportunity for change rather than a disaster, Alan Sargent suggests.


Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +

HORTICULTURE WEEK Custodian Awards

Find out more about the outstanding parks, gardens and arboricultural projects and teams that became our Custodian Award 2018 winners.

Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Products & Kit Resources