The Meta Garden: Growing the Future, Designed by Joe Perkins
This garden is inspired by British woodlands and highlights the relationship between soil, fungi and plants. lants, fungi and woodlands are all connected inseparably, and that is what this garden aims to reflect. The central structure imitates the connection between a mycorrhizal network and tree roots while a woodland edge and meadow back the sunken seating area. Designed as an immersive experience, it’s intended to remind us of the urgent need to rebalance our relationship with the natural world. Key plants include Nectaroscordum siculum, Carex divulsa and red and white campion.
Inside “The Meta garden: growing the future”, guests will find a pavilion structure representative of the mycelium (fungi) networks that connect and support woodland life, and a central seating area sunken within the environment. A unique digital installation named “Hyphae” can be interacted with and responds to human touch to visualise the complex communication webs in nature, illuminating the magic of fungi and the power of the mycelium network. The naturalistic garden also includes a stylised meadow, showcasing almost 3,000 plants native to the UK and from around the world.
The garden’s message is focused on the protection of British woodlands and forests for future generations and has been designed to highlight the crucial relationship between soil, fungi and plants, which together form the basis of resilient forest ecosystems.
A colourful planting scheme of white, yellow, purple and red features specimens threatened by climate change, such as linnaea borealis and those well suited to predicted future climatic conditions like sweet chestnut and douglas fir. Alder also features for its ability to provide nitrogen in the soil, making it available to other species.
Sponsored by Meta (formerly Facebook). The installation was created as a collaboration between experiential design company Cinimod Studio and Chelsea Flower Show gold medallist Joe Perkins, featuring LEDflex and Sacha Molyneux.
Joe Perkins previously won three awards with his Chelsea debut for Facebook in 2019 with the “Space to grow” garden.
A Chelsea Flower Show Garden that children under 5 can now enjoy too!
Growing the Future is being supported by the National Forest, which is rehoming the garden here at CONKERS as part of The Queen’s Green Canopy campaign, focused on planting trees to celebrate The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
What is the Queens Green Canopy?
The Queen’s Green Canopy (QGC) is a unique tree planting initiative created to mark Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022 which invites people from across the United Kingdom to “Plant a Tree for the Jubilee”.
With a focus on planting sustainably, the QGC will encourage planting of trees to create a legacy in honour of The Queen’s leadership of the Nation, which will benefit future generations.
Joe Perkins, Garden Designer:
“There is an urgent need to redress the balance of our relationship with the natural world, and there is so much to learn from the connections in nature, both in terms of how we learn to support and preserve sustainable forest ecosystems, and in how we come together as communities – in-person and on platforms like Facebook and Instagram – to tackle climate change. The garden’s focus on the symbiotic relationship between trees, plants, and the mycorrhizae systems they depend upon, seeks to demonstrate the necessity of connection and how vital it is for the health of all communities.”
Steve Hatch, Meta’s Vice-President of northern Europe:
“The Meta garden: growing the future’ is all about championing natural solutions to climate change and how we can protect our wonderful British woodlands. We’ve seen a boom in enthusiastic plant lovers across the UK during the pandemic. Individuals and communities coming together on places like Facebook Groups and Instagram to share their tips, get inspired, and educate themselves on how we can all learn from nature to make more sustainable decisions for our planet.”
John Everitt, Chief Executive of the National Forest:
“This is a forest of people, as much as trees, and is a forest for everyone. We are stronger growing together, as an entity, like the forest itself and the unseen mycelium that underpins its biodiversity.
The networks of the National Forest are strong, and are essential to the changes we have seen over the past 30 years working with partners to create the Forest. We believe in the power of trees to transform people’s lives and the landscape, and will be excited to see Joe Perkins’s Meta garden relocated to the Forest. Many more people will be able to see it here and enjoy his interpretation of our interdependence through a forest-inspired garden.”