Kristian Reay was named Young Designer of the Year at last year’s RHS Tatton Park Flower Show for his gold medal winning Phytosanctuary Garden.
The Mediterranean themed garden had lots of flowers and scents, with a magnificent copper swing seat as a focal point. Round seats and bean bags offered more space for relaxing (or queuing for the swing?) on a curved area of wooden decking.
Kristian’s planting was a dreamy mix of English and French lavender, Achillea, Gaura, Agapanthus, Verbena, Erigeron, Artemisia, Echinacea, Allium, Nepeta, Kniphofia and Hemerocallis beneath one multi-stemmed Italian olive tree.
On a windy day, there was lots of movement. Plants spilled over a flowing path of Cotswold stone chippings. White Gaura floated butterfly-like over the borders and tall grasses waved in the background.
Our minds naturally are on the current threat to human life, and most likely we are wishing precautions had been taken sooner. This garden warns of a very similar threat to British plants: a bacterial pathogen called Xylella fastidiosa.
It has reached mainland Europe from the Americas and has the potential to weaken and kill a wide range of plants, including fruit trees, rosemary, lavender and oleander. The UK is mercifully free from it for now, but in Italy it has devastated ancient olive groves. Kristian’s garden highlighted some of our best loved garden plants that are at risk.
If the disease arrives, it will be spread by sap sucking bugs, such as those that live in cuckoo spit, commonly found in our fields, woods and gardens. Sightings of spittlebugs are being recorded – if scientists know where they are, it helps them understand and model the likely spread.
British gardeners can help by:
- Reporting sightings of spittlebugs to The University of Sussex here.
- Resisting temptation to bring back plants when we are able to visit European countries again.
- Asking British suppliers about the provenance and biosecurity measures in place for susceptible plants before we buy.
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Shared for Becky’s AprilSquares: Top Young Designer.