Greencube Hampton Court garden designed to represent Kent fruit production

Fruit production in Kent is the theme of a show garden at this year's RHS Hampton Court Flower Show.

The garden, named Food 4 Thought, has been designed by Hadlow College graduate and Greencube Landscapes managing director Mandy Buckland whose design draws attention to the need to increase fruit production in the "garden of England" to help the UK adapt to climate change and an expanding population.

The design brief was given to Buckland from Kent Produce and Kent's Hadlow College. Year-two garden design students are helping to construct the garden at the college site and are tending to its plants before the show starts on 6 July.

Buckland's designs and plant selections reflect the fruit that has historically been grown in Kent as well as fruit that is currently grown in the county and fruit that could be grown there in light of the changing climate.

She said: "Apple stepovers in the garden represent the county's orchards of the past while the strawberries, growing vertically from a wall onto the courtyard table, represent Kent's soft fruit production.

"There are some 200 strawberry plants - of the Lucy variety - so it's a real feature. The way they are connected to the table also represents the need to bring food production closer to home to reduce the carbon emissions associated with food miles."

She added that the garden's wall of chillies, peppers and tomatoes represents the large-scale production at Thanet Earth - "and the fact that we can now grow these plants in Kent and not in Holland" - while lemon and peach trees point to the county's potential crops.

The project is being managed by part-time lecturer at Hadlow and Landscape Institute member Brian Hawtin.

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