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.
Check out Kristian Reay on Twitter or Instagram:
Shared for Becky’s AprilSquares: Top Young Designer.
22 Replies to “Kristian Reay’s Phytosanctuary Garden”
This is so lovely! I intend to daydream myself here and I know I’ll be better for it. The possibility of losing any part of it to a bacterial invasion that might be preventable is very sad, especially right now. We need every sanctuary we can get.
Oddment is so right. Not sure I can improve on her comment. Your post is one of contrasts—beauty mixed with an urgent warning. Here’s hoping that your island is spared.
At least there is still something we can do.
What a beautiful post . . . and I had heard about the spittlebug sightings but not the reason why. Thanks for the explanation, I will make sure I report this year
I always enjoy seeing the Young Designer gardens – it must be fun, a great way to kick start their careers and a learning exercise too.
Seems there’s always something to worry about, but at least you can be surrounded by beauty while you do, Susan. 🙂 🙂
You’re right! I was not sure whether to mention the message behind the garden, because we all need something more cheerful to think about, but then I realised that the designer would surely want me to and the issue is peculiarly relevant.
What a truly beautiful garden. I do wish I had the ability to put together plants in such an accomplished way. I admire those with that talent.
Thank you for the info re the spittlebug.
The planting was beautifully done. I love its airiness, and the colour palette too.
Wow, that is a lovely garden, I’m inspired!
They’ve been generous with the flowers, which is always a treat to see.
Love the design and colour palette in this garden. From your photos it looks much like the type of garden I would have if I lived in a single family home instead of an apartment block.
I love Gaura. Although I’ve found it short lived, it’s worth it while it lasts.
A beautifully designed garden with a message. It’s the kind of garden we should have, instead of simple lawns you see so often. I certainly hope that disease doesn’t arrive in your area.
I’m not sure about that copper swing seat, though. On a hot summer’s day, that could be very very very uncomfortable.
Good point – they were probably banking on an English summer! It would be cold in winter too.
This bacteria came to Europe from the Americas? This is the first I’ve heard of it. I wonder if it is already in my area. I love the soft color pallette in this sanctuary garden.
It’s more common in the south, affecting grapes, pecans, blueberries etc.
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