BBC Gardeners’ World Spring Fair is a meeting of garden lovers across the country. Set, this year, in the New Forest, the fair features garden inspiration, expertise, hands on workshops, and more. Plus, for the first time ever, three colleges will be competing in a College Garden competition.
Working with the theme ‘A present-day ode to a Victorian garden’, students have been challenged to create a budget-friendly garden design to showcase their skills. All of those taking part will also be mentored by award-winning garden designer, Cherry Carmen. The team working on this garden have been brought together by Nigel Cox, Horticulture Course Leader, through the college and include: Alexander Hale, Fiona Harvey, Sue Williams, Megan Walters, and Aizel Finch.
Bridgwater & Taunton College’s garden, ‘Obscuro’, is inspired by the Victorian era story ‘Alice in Wonderland’, centred around a whimsical yet tranquil tea party for adults. The students aim to create an enchanting, hidden and secret feeling space inspired by the Victorians, but with a contemporary, thoughtful mindset.
The Victorians tried to control nature, with gardens neatly clipped to perfection, but this way of gardening did not leave space for wildlife to thrive. Obscuro incorporates a modern twist by investing in wildlife, using sustainable materials and methods, and reducing waste. It features repurposed, borrowed, or purchased secondhand goods.
After the show the garden will be dismantled, and many of the items sold off to raise money for a purpose-built garden, to be assembled as a wellbeing space for Weston Psychiatric Hospital later in the year.
Obscura uses the following plants:
- Viburnum opulus ‘Roseum’
- Woodwardia fimbriata
- Ribes sanguineum ‘Amore’
- Vinca minor ‘Gertrude Jekyll’
- Vinca minor ‘Atropurpurea’
- Philadelphus maculatus ‘Sweet Clare’
- Heuchera ‘Apple Crisp’
- Heuchera ‘Midnight Rose’
- Aucuba japonica ‘Rozanne’
- Begonia ‘Diamond Drops’
- Osmanthus burkwoodii
- Cyrtomium fortunei
- Dryopteris ethyrosora var. Prolifica
- Dryopteris affinis Cristata ‘The King’
- Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’
- Digitalis serendipity
- Geranium phaeum ‘Wendy’s Blush’
- Heucherella ‘Tapestry’
- Asplenium scol. ‘Undulatum’
- Athryium nipponicum ‘Metallicum’
- Dryopteris erythrosora prolifica
- Polystichyum set. ‘Herrenhausen’
- Prunus serrula ‘Amber Scots’
- Pyrus calleryana ‘Chanticleer’
- Assorted bedding mix and bulbs
Find out more about studying horticulture at Bridgwater & Taunton College.