Practice aims to make a difference

Garden designers Tom Petherick, Lulu Urquhart and Adam Hunt launched a future-orientated landscape design practice at HRH the Prince of Wales' Garden Party to Make a Difference at Clarence House. Their installation, Future Cities Garden, ran the length of the south facade of St James's Palace.

They aimed to show the possibilities of gardening in small spaces. The £50,000 garden demonstrated fruit, vegetables and herbs grown in pots, against fences, up walls and in recycled containers, with lettuce green walls, climbing yams and beans in oil drums. The garden was modelled on the natural seven storeys of the forest for maximum output using shade-loving plants.

Petherick said: "People are getting a lot of inspiration from the containers and how to use them. We wanted to show more than one dimension to encourage people to have a go. Grow your own is just getting warmed up. With something that takes quite radical steps, people take a while to get motivated. The problem is lack of space and the British don't like to be talked down to. When we have ranting we tend to react rather than respond."

Petherick was encouraged to see Tesco, Waitrose, B&Q, Marks & Spencer and Virgin with stands at the show. "It's important that the big majors are here. It is unrealistic that people go to farmers' markets all the time. I would love it if people used Riverford box schemes all the time but that is not the reality of how we shop. I don't see it changing unless people start to make the changes that people like the Prince of Wales, Patrick Holden and Tim Smit recommend," he said.

"We are going on shopping at B&Q and that's how it is for the majority of people. The tragedy is that it is all profit-driven, but we live in a monetary economy. We all have to work together and B&Q has to show its green credentials. That's a good reason for having this show."

He said new landscape consultancy Petherick, Urquhart & Hunt was about approaching land use in a different way. "It's to explore a deeper connection with nature. We want to use organics and work with nature in a different way."

He said many gardens were a product of 1980s materialism but had moved on to embrace nature. Suppliers included Simpson Seeds, Crocus, Thornhayes Nursery, Orchard Dene Nurseries, Landford Trees, Pennard Plants and Avonleigh Organics and Vineyard.

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