Chelsea Flower Show
In 2009, Newington Nurseries worked in conjunction with the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism’s London Office and the QE2 Botanic Park on Grand Cayman to create an Undersea Reef Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. The result of this successful collaboration was an RHS Gold Medal and the President’s Award for the Most Creative Design.
The garden was designed to replicate a typical Cayman coral reef. The stunning backdrop was a dramatic life-size image of one of the Cayman Islands most revered dive drop-offs, Bloody Bay Wall, Little Cayman. The image was taken by a photographer who is heavily involved in marine research.
In order to emulate the plants that are found in the Caribbean marine environment, we chose to use plants that are grown in UK gardens and conservatories. Plant miles were kept to a mimimum. Spiky bromeliads were used to mimic sea anemones and the flowers of cacti were used to resemble brightly-coloured corals. Staghorn ferns, euphorbias, sedums and sempervivums were used to great effect, all bearing striking similarity to their marine cousins; staghorn corals, brain corals and the like. Black Ophiopogon, Festuca and Libertia grasses were used to imitate the seaweeds and grasses that are to be found growing on the sea bed.
A skilfully UK designed and manufactured piece of fabric was used to mimic seawater and this sat above the exhibit. The overall effect was as if being underwater. We also fabricated a hull of a boat which was ‘moored’ to the jetty’s timbers beneath the fabric. The sea floor was created through the use of sand and rocks, both sourced in Oxfordshire as were the timbers used to make the landing stage. The exhibit was truly a local story with a global message; that our marine environment is incredibly precious and we must strive at all costs to protect it for generations to come.
Click Here to download the list of plants