Garden designer Alison Johnston has created a family-friendly garden for a prestigious flower show – which boasts its own dinosaur zone!
Alison, of Slaithwaite-based Take Root Garden Design, has been commissioned by the Royal Horticultural Society to design and build a ‘Long Border’ for the Tatton Flower Show which runs from July 19-23.
The theme of the Long Borders this year is sensory, and with the RHS focus on making gardening accessible to families, Alison designed the border based on a part of her own garden.
Tatton Flower Show, based at the prestigious Tatton Hall in Knutsford, Cheshire, is the premier flower show of the north of England and attracts 80,000 visitors a year.
Alison said: “It’s tough being a parent, and I completely understand why many people feel overwhelmed when making their garden child friendly.
“All species in this garden are safe for kids to touch, and are interesting enough to engage the senses of kids. Many of the plants are evergreen, so will look good all-year-long, so you don’t end up with bare patches during winter.
“My kids are quite hands on in the garden. My youngest is especially keen to touch and explore the plants we have so I designed an area for his dinosaurs to live where he can let his imagination run wild.
“There’s a sunny side and a partially shady side to the border, reflecting the kind of site most of us have at home.
“Many of the plants can be bought at a garden centre, or even a supermarket, so it’s really accessible. Anyone can do it.”
The project is supported by two British businesses. Johnsons of Whixley is a Yorkshire-based plant nursery, which prides itself on not only providing high quality plants to the commercial sector but have also kindly agreed to donate the plants used in the show to Linthwaite Clough JI and Early Years School.
Rusty Rooster, based in Rutland, have kindly loaned the dinosaur sculptures which lurk deep in the undergrowth. Made of corten steel, they contrast beautifully with the lush green foliage, and are pretty bombproof so can cope with the rigours of a family garden.
Alison said: “I added some dinosaur sculptures to add a bit of fun to it because to me gardens are all about joy.
“As adults we often forget about the importance of play, so they remind us not to take the whole thing too seriously!”