A glimpse into the future
The Chelsea Flower Show has always been in the vanguard of gardening taste and trends, which now involves the future of technology and sustainability. This was precisely the combination that inspired Ikea and Tom Dixon’s futuristic garden in the main marquee, Gardening Will Save the World. The RHS judges might not have been especially impressed, only awarding it a silver medal. But visitors were entranced by the garden’s lower level, which was infused by lilac light to give an atmosphere of incubation. In a series of glass cabinets, hyper-natural, edible plants had been grown using hydroponic technology, demonstrating that food can be produced in an urban environment where traditional methods of production are impossible. Steps on both sides of the garden lead to its upper level, described as a ‘botanical oasis that will encourage visitors to immerse themselves in a canopy-like ecosystem of trees, flowers and plants with medicinal, health and environmental benefits’. The whole thing was futuristic and like all things Ikea it was rooted in practicality. I have no doubt lots of people will be producing food like this in the future.