Politics

Gardener uses rainy day in Manchester as inspiration for container garden


A rainy day in Manchester may not seem particularly inspiring to some but Bea Tann has found a way to channel the weather in her home city into a lush garden for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

Her Enchanted Rain Garden, also inspired by woodland and forests, will open to the public on 24 May.

It is designed to thrive in wet conditions and Ms Tann, who works in landscape architecture, has used native ferns commonly found in woodland for her exhibition, adding that she chose “robust plants that won’t look trampled or battered by the stormy weather”.

“They hold the raindrops really nicely even once the rain has stopped and I just think it looks great.

“In Manchester, we have more rainy days than sunny days, so it doesn’t really make sense to create this idyllic Manchester garden that looks all nice and sunny and meadowy because that is just not what it’s like, ever. I thought about the woods and forests as places that look nice in the rain.”

The RHS description of Ms Tann’s garden says: “The overall narrative and design evokes the spirit of the UK’s northern cities, harnessing the magic of a rainy environment whilst talking more practically to the growing regularity of stormy weather we face as a result of climate change.”

The Enchanted Rain Garden features in the Balcony and Container Gardens category, which is appearing at the Chelsea Flower Show for the second time after Britons got green-fingered in whatever small outdoor space they had during the pandemic.

Bea Tann has used ferns to create her garden for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show (Photo: RHS)

Gemma Lake, RHS Shows Manager, said: “The Balcony and Container Gardens were such a hit at the show last year we had to have them return for 2022.

“The RHS Chelsea Flower Show is all about helping everyone garden, even if you have next to no outside space at home… We are delighted that there are so many new gardeners in the UK as people have personally experienced the positive benefits that plants can have not just on the way they make us feel, but on the environment and wildlife.”

She added: “The category brings a new perspective on gardening, showing that an expansive outside space is not necessary to get green-fingered.”

Tann, who at 22 is the youngest person to take part in the flower show this year, believes the Balcony and Container category is a welcome addition.

“Being young and [knowing] what gardens people have, especially in a city centre, I was really interested in doing container gardens, especially as a lot of people rent and you can take those containers and put them anywhere.

“The thing with the container and balcony gardens is that they are actually achievable whereas some of the bigger ones, they look so beautiful but you just think, ‘I could never have that in my garden.’ With a container garden you could take just one element and create that at home quite easily.”

The Balcony and Container category will also feature the Cirrus Garden by Jason Williams, known as the Cloud Gardener after he turned to gardening on his 18th-floor balcony in Deansgate, Manchester, to improve his mental health during the pandemic.

He ended up transforming his balcony with 100 containers. Williams’s Chelsea Flower Show garden, partly inspired by the colour of cirrus clouds at sunrise and sunset, focuses on biodiversity in urban areas while creating a tranquil environment.

The Chelsea Flower Show runs from Tuesday 24 to Saturday 28 May.



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