At Hampton Court Flower Show this year I saw a show garden as striking as it is thought provoking - The Edible Bus Stop garden "Riot of Colour".
The garden was inspired by the shocking events of last summer, the planting described as a representation of the riots. A burned out telephone box and london taxi burst with plants, nature reclaiming them and transforming them into something quite beautiful. To the rear of the plot a wall is covered in vibrant graffiti, framed by sumptuous climbers.
A solitary hornbeam (carpinus betulus) grows out of the tarmac road, the double yellow lines flow into an ingenious bench that wraps around the trunk - nature and urban development in harmony rather than at odds. I love this idea and think it sums up much of what the message that designers are trying to convey - turning urban into urbane.
The garden's aim is to raise awareness of a larger project. The Edible Bus Stop originated as an act of 'guerrilla gardening' (gardening on land that the gardeners do not have legal right to use, often an abandoned site or area not cared for by anyone) intended to improve the quality of life for local London residents by growing edibles at a South London bus stop. Their belief is that "a brutal landscape makes for a brutal outlook", hard and soulless streets are part of the reason for the problems seen by Londoners in the shocking riots of 2011. By creating green spaces, as well as by engaging local communities in their ongoing upkeep, this project seeks to create a sense of community so sorely lacking today.
Winston Churchill once said that "If all the world were gardeners then there would be no war", a wonderful sentiment and one that strikes to the core of this project. If you want to know more about the project then you can visit their site at:
Burned out cars, bus stop signs and police "Do Not Cross" tape are not the first thing that springs to mind when considering garden sculpture, however I believe that show gardens should provoke ideas and inspiration as much as an enjoyable aesthetic. Few clients would want this garden to be re-created in the way that perhaps a CHelsea Show garden might work. However, you might love the yellow line bench, this would certainly work in a residential property. The use of planting and graffiti could look fantastic in the right property.
I love this garden, easily my pick of the show and plan to discuss ways in which Marshall Murray can help get this message out through upcoming exhibitions and events. Wonderful idea, beautifully executed.