A Yorkshire team is aiming to create a slice of gardening perfection on a shoe-string budget to impress the judges and public at the forthcoming BBC Gardeners’ World Live event.
Local charity Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust (YDMT) has teamed up with Yorkshireman Chris Myers, a TV presenter and award-winning garden designer, to create a naturalistic show garden inspired by the beautiful Yorkshire Dales landscape.
The ‘Hay Time’ garden will depict iconic Yorkshire Dales features including a mini wildflower hay meadow, dry stone wall and field barn, whilst embracing that other well-known Yorkshire characteristic: thrift!
The design and construction team at Chris Myers Design are striving to produce a medal-worthy show garden on a particularly modest budget by using donated plants and reclaimed building materials.
Wildflowers have been grown from seed by children from Askrigg, Bainbridge and Hawes Primary Schools in Wensleydale, and Christ Church Primary School in Skipton. The dry stone wall and the field barn roof have been reclaimed from dilapidated ruins in the Dales, and many of the trees that will form the woodland are being reused from Chris’s previous show garden displays.
Greenhouse space has been kindly donated by the Clapham-based organic farm Growing With Grace to help ensure that the all-important wildflowers will bloom in time for the show, and volunteers from YDMT are helping out wherever possible with free labour.
Chris Myers says that the shoe-string budget for this project makes perfect sense: “My aim when designing the ‘Hay Time’ show garden was to illustrate the beauty and importance of wildflower hay meadows, and to raise awareness of the desperate plight they currently face as one of the most threatened habitats in the UK. YDMT is doing some great work to save the precious few meadows remaining and to protect the many rare species of wildlife they support.
“But with 97 per centof UK meadows now gone, more still needs to be done to safeguard this iconic habitat for future generations. The real money needs to be invested in YDMT’s Hay Time Appeal to make a lasting difference to the future of these vibrant ecosystems, not on a fleeting show garden like this.”
After the event as many elements of the garden as possible will be given a new lease of life. Wildflowers will be planted in meadows, school gardens and public spaces across the Dales to improve their botanical diversity and wildlife value, and the trees, stones and other building materials will be re-used again by Chris Myers Design in future projects.
YDMT’s Hay Time Project Manager, Don Gamble said: “The team at Chris Myers Design share our passion for the Yorkshire Dales and the many beautiful and important wildlife habitats that can be found here, so it is really exciting to be working with them on this project. I hope that the garden will raise awareness of the urgent need to take action to save our precious meadows, and that it will also encourage gardeners to consider using more native and nectar-rich flower species in their own garden to create something attractive to both people and wildlife.”
Chris Myers is an ambassador of YDMT’s Hay Time Appeal – an initiative launched earlier this year by the Trust in a bid to raise £150,000 to fund a three-year campaign to safeguard the few hay meadows that remain, restore degraded meadows, and raise awareness about the importance of this precious habitat.
Anyone wishing to support the Appeal should call YDMT on 015242 51002 or visit www.ydmt.org/haytimeappeal
You can read more abut the Hay Time Appeal in June’s edition of Dalesman magazine.