It’s back to the fu­ture for Chelsea

Flower Shows cel­e­brates it cen­te­nary, how has gar­den­ing changed in the last cen­tury?

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Hobson’s Choice -

The world’s top garden de­sign­ers will be cel­e­brat­ing 100 years of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2013 with a mix­ture of old and new, demon­strat­ing the glo­ries of the past and the gar­dens of the fu­ture.

Award- win­ningChelseast­al­wartRogerPlatts, whois­de­sign­ing the M& Gshow­gar­den, Win­dows Through Time, is aim­ing to cap­ture the de­sign trends and themes of RHS Chelsea Flower Shows past and present, show­ing how Bri­tish garden de­sign has evolved while re­flect­ing many re­cur­ring themes that have stood the test of time.

“I be­lieve that the three ma­jor rea­sons driv­ing the devel­op­ment in garden de­sign are ev­er­chang­ing ar­chi­tec­ture, cli­mate change and life­style changes,” says Platts.

“Ex­tremes of weather have tended to kill off some new trends in plant­ing in re­cent years. It is not long since we were be­ing en­cour­aged to plant drought- tol­er­ant va­ri­eties, only to find them frosted or rot­ted in cold, wet win­ters.

“It on­ly­take­sacou­ple­o­fyears of ex­treme weather in close suc­ces­sion to re­move gar­den­ers’ con­fi­dence in cer­tain plants.

“I have al­ways en­joyed grow­ing a wide range of sil­ver- leaved plants but liv­ing on heavy soil and hav­ing wet­ter­weather, I am re­luc­tant to risk some of th­ese.

“For the av­er­age gar­dener it will al­ways­bebest­togrow­plants tol­er­ant of a wide range of con­di­tions. For the en­thu­si­ast they will al­ways be try­ing to push the bound­aries.”

So, how much have our gar­dens changed in the last cen­tury?

Plant­pots- in­1913potswould have been made from clay. This then devel­oped to plas­tic with a re­cent­trend­to­wards­biodegrad­able ma­te­ri­als.

Glasshouses - then heat­ing and prop­a­ga­tion for glasshouses and grow­ing frames re­lied on solid fuel and ma­nure. Nowa­days, elec­tric­ity and bio fu­els are used.

Fer­tilis­ers - 100 years ago most­fer­tiliser wa­sor­ganic. Over the years chem­i­cals were de­vel­ope­d­for use in fer­til­is­ing. There is nowa­trend­tore­turn­ing­toor­ganic fer­tilis­ers.

Garden con­struc­tion ma­te­ri­als - then nat­u­ral tim­ber, stone, clay and iron and ag­gre­gates were mainly used. Th­ese would­gen­er­al­ly­have­been­lo­cally sourced. In 2013 we use a very sim­i­lar range of ma­te­ri­als with a fe­wad­di­tions, suchas­plas­tics, con­crete, stain­less steel ( in­vent- ed in 1913) and im­ported ma­te­ri­als such as In­dian sand­stone.

Plants - va­ri­eties we grew in 1913 are sim­i­lar to what wegrow now but with a wider range to­day due to so­phis­ti­cated plant breed­ing and se­lec­tion meth­ods. A cen­tury ago most were raised in the ground af­ter prop­a­ga­tion, be­ing ‘ lined out’ in the field as young plants, hence the term ‘ lin­ers’, which is still used in the nurs­ery trade for young plants prior to fi­nal pot­ting

Lawn mow­ers - were in their in­fancy 100 years ago. Tech­nol­ogy has re­sulted in garden ma­chin­ery be­com­ing more widely af­ford­able. The ba­sic prin­ci­ples of cut­ting grass us­ing a cylin­der mower have changed lit­tle over the cen­tury. Plas­tics, bat­tery­pow­ered strim­mers and the ro­tary mow­er­mean­thats­mal­l­ar­eas of grass are eas­ier to main­tain nowa­days.

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