We are pleased to announce a hat trick of awards for our remarkable Quarry Garden at the first ever RHS Chatsworth Flower show in Derbyshire. A fitting start to celebrate our 100-year anniversary.
After two years in the planning and mother nature exhibiting the best and worst of the Derbyshire weather, all was made worthwhile with the judges announcement of the IQ Quarry Garden taking a Gold medal, the Best in Show and Best Construction on a soggy Wednesday morning in June.
We set out to create a show garden at RHS Chatsworth that would celebrate and be reflective of the essential role quarrying plays in our everyday life, whilst helping to visualise to members of the public the lifecycle of a quarry.
Designed by Paul Hervey-Brookes, our design demonstrated this very essence, from the brutalist form of the Passing Light sculpture reflective of the quarry face to the lagoon symbolised through the concrete pit with reed bed planting, following through to the naturalistic elements, complete with slate monoliths and around 7,000 plants that would naturally flourish in these environments. The latter helped to highlight the ecological diversity that is found within both active and restored quarry sites.
The interest and appreciation of the garden from visitors to the show was remarkable, with many also having quarrying connections through friends and family, in a part of the UK which is so abundant with quarry life.
Our journey started two years ago with Nottingham Trent University (NTU) students Will, Paul and Connie helping to influence the early design concepts of the garden, with guidance from our designer Paul-Hervey-Brookes.
The process additionally provided us with a great platform to be able to support the students on their chosen pathway, giving them insights into the complete design, manufacturing and build process involved in creating a show garden to hopefully inspire and influence them further in their chosen careers in horticulture. Having them join us on the garden for the duration of the show was also rewarding, opening up the opportunity to hear first-hand the great response from the visitors about a garden their designs helped shape.
One of the starkest elements within the garden and a key talking point throughout the week was the Passing Light sculpture, designed by Ann-Margreth Bohl. The corten steel wall was created just weeks before the completion of the build, the weathering process accelerated through the use of acid to provide us with the rusted appearance. The wall towered to 3 meters high and was accented with a fissure extending the full width to provide shifting shadows as the sun passes over the sculpture during the day.
The planting chosen for the garden were all selected to be reflective of the species rich plant life that naturally would be found in in both active and former quarry sites, which effortlessly encourages an abundance of wildlife promoting diversity within the ecosystem.
It is reassuring to know that the final resting place for the garden later this year will be at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire where it will be able to live on in perpetuity as a legacy to the quarrying industry.
We would like to make a special thank you to the volunteers from Tarmac, Cemex, Aggregate Industries and Nottingham Trent University along with our sponsors and all those who helped us on our garden journey over the last couple of years in addition to Paul Hervey-Brooks, Ann-Margreth Bohl and Gareth Wilson (G.K. Wilson Landscape Services) whose contribution and unwavering commitment helped to turn the vision into reality.
For more information on our Quarry Garden journey visit https://www.quarrying.org/about-quarrying/quarry-garden. You can also visit https://youtu.be/fhHREvPl-og to see our reflection on the garden as we catch up with a handful of our guests and members who took time out to visit us during the show.