The Alan Gardner Lindum Garden, 'Out of the Blue', is part of a brand new category at Chelsea, 'Fresh Gardens', which encourages innovative design and use of materials.
A semi-intensive roof garden displayed on the ground, 'Out of the Blue' comprises three mounds of different drought-tolerant planting set against a decked area with occasional seating. Biodiversity and sustainability are key drivers in the garden's design. A striking 'zig zag' structure created from bright blue polypropylene string bisects the mounds, creating shadows and alternative perspectives.
Alan Gardner says of his latest installation for Chelsea, "My designs are all about simplicity with a twist. 'Out of the Blue' creates a calm, Zen-like roof garden that is both perfect to relax in and is environmentally sound. The polypropylene string structure contrasts sharply with the natural form of the planting and creates shade. With 360˚access to this garden, visitors will be able to view it from many different perspectives throughout the day.
"It has been fantastic to work with Stephen Fell and his team at Lindum to create a garden that is both aesthetically pleasing and works on a practical level as a drought-tolerant roof garden."
Stephen Fell, Managing Director of Lindum says, "I was delighted when Alan approached us to work with him collaboratively on his new venture for Chelsea. Our expertise in growing specialist, environmentally-friendly turf and in green roof planting, combined with Alan's exceptional artistic talent will, I hope, prove a winning combination."
The planting in the garden comprises three mounds. The planting for each is outlined below:
• Lindum Low Maintenance Grass comprises an established mixture of slow-growing and drought-tolerant grasses with low maintenance requirements, growing in a felt mat. The grass incorporates Crested Hairgrass with Hard Fescue and Creeping Red Fescue.
• The Lindum Wildflower and Herb Mat contains a vibrant mixture of wildflowers, herbs, perennials and sedums designed to promote biodiversity and to flourish in dry conditions. It creates an excellent habitat for pollinators such as bumblebees, and also for butterflies, birds and invertebrates. The mixture includes Oxeye Daisy, Lady's Bedstraw, Cat's Ear and Yellow Camomile, three sedum varieties and herbs such as Wild Marjoram and Thyme, and flowering perennials such as Dianthus.
• A matrix of drought tolerant grasses and larger perennials.
These are designed to flourish in dry conditions and so are ideal on a roof or in a dry garden.
Sustainability and Biodiversity
'Out of the Blue' is a roof garden which has been designed to bring greenery into an urban space which would otherwise be barren. Green roofs are proven to reduce air pollution, reduce the urban 'heat island' effect and the whole garden has been designed with biodiversity and sustainability in mind. The plant mixtures used create a diverse habitat for bees, butterflies, invertebrates and birds.
The Lindum Low Maintenance Grass and the Lindum Wildflower and Herb Mats are grown in biodegradable felt made from recycled British textiles. Growing substrates are made from recycled soils and green waste compost and do not include peat.
About Alan Gardner
Alan Gardner was born into the urban jungle of Birmingham. At the age of fifteen he was inspired to take up gardening when he was bought a cactus. From then on he filled his parents' back garden with bedding plants and greenhouses and started using the plants he had grown at show gardens.
Alan started off working for the Birmingham Parks Department, marking out running tracks and pitches. His confidence in designing unique outdoor spaces, often on a grand scale, was influenced by his time spent there. His career developed through landscaping to developing startlingly original approaches to landscape design, where flowing turf installations contrast sharply with dramatic man-made constructions. Installations have ranged from huge grass amphitheatres to spiral mounds and he has created 32 award-winning RHS show gardens including gold and silver medals at Tatton Park and a bronze at Chelsea in 2007 for 'Perspectum'.
His highly original approach to shaping landscapes, combined with his head-turning appearance result in Alan attracting widespread media attention, including featuring in a major BBC series on the RHS.
Lindum has been growing specialist turf for more than 25 years and has brought innovative grass, wildflower and other products to a range of new and unusual applications in landscape architecture, green roofs and garden design. Lindum has supplied wildflowers, green roof planting and turf to RHS Show gardens for more than ten years.
'Out of the Blue' is Lindum's first joint collaboration with a garden designer whereby they are providing the technical expertise and roof garden planting.