Welsh coast redwood trees from the Royal Forestry Society helped evoke 100 years of conservation and evolution for the Garden Club of America (GCA) as it celebrateed its centenary with a spectacular exhibit in the RHS Environment section of last week's RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
Oxfordshire-based Applied Landscape Design designed the show garden which won a silver-gilt medal on behalf of the club, and wanted coast redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens), which had formed the focus of the the club's first conservation campaign in the 1930s, to play a central role.
Importing Redwoods from America was not a viable option so they turned to the Royal Forestry Society (RFS), owners of the largest and oldest stand of coast redwoods in Europe - the RFS Charles Ackers Redwood Grove near Welshpool - for help in sourcing materials for the design.
Some of the redwoods in the grove date back to original plantings imported from the USA in 1857.
As a result, Redwood discs from trees aged about 80 years from the Leighton estate, leaf litter and other materials, together with young redwoods from Dutch nurseries, and Californian ground-flora sourced from around the UK, formed the central theme of the interactive Chelsea Flower Show garden celebrating the evolution of gardening in the USA.
Applied Landscape Design’s Director Kym Jones said:"The Coast Redwoods reflect one particularly important initiative from the early days of the Garden Club of America which saw the organisation establish itself as a forerunner in conservation. The role of redwoods at the heart of this display embraces elements of the centennial tree project and symbolises the continuity of the Garden Club of America’s commitment to education and scholarships."
RFS development director Simon Lloyd said: "We were delighted to be able to donate materials from our historic Redwood grove. Not only did the original plantings come from trees imported from America, but it is interesting to reflect that, just as the Garden Club of America was campaigning to protect and preserve redwoods in California, on the other side of the Atlantic, Charles Ackers was planting them in mid Wales.