Design Nic Howard Sponsor David Harber & Savills Build Langdale Landscapes Theme Humankind’s relationship with the environment
“I have designed the trade stand for [sculptor] David Harber for the past two years, but this is my first show garden. David, Savills and I are all passionate about the project and want to create a garden where visitors can take ideas home.
“The design portrays the impact humans have had on the planet. It’s a stylised timeline of our interaction with the environment, and evolves as you walk through it. A meandering path leads from naturalistic planting at the front toward more formal, cultivated planting at the back.
“At the front grasses and self-sown cirsium and foxgloves are planted in a wild but ‘gardenesque’ manner, around a bronze sculpture panel. The planting gradually becomes more refined, using drifts of peonies, salvias, nepeta and alchemilla, and finishing at the far end with an Aeon sculpture (representing the life force). It’s a huge (2.4x 4m/8x13ft) organic bronze form with a gold starburst as its nucleus, made from gold leaf metal rods.
“The planting is mainly perennials and trees, so it’s soft and flowery. We’ve chosen four multistem Betula nigra as part of a mixed colour scheme, with punches of purple, dark red and orange. It’s very verdant, with nice big peonies and lupins; the trick is using grasses and ‘filler plants’ with a nice leaf form, such as Aster divaricatus to provide a visual rest.
“Sculpture is the real lynchpin. From Main Avenue you can look down the centre of the garden through a sculptural ‘wormhole’, symbolising the passage of time. This is formed by a bronze panel at the front then three oxidised laser-cut steel screens with a contemplation bench halfway along made from a woven jungle of verdigris bronze strips.”