Beyond our borders – fighting plant disease

banner-Jens-final-1Sarah Eberle will be designing “Beyond our Borders” at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show for the Animal & Plant Health Agency (APHA).

The garden is inspired by Sentinel trees, grown in International Botanic Gardens to research and record the effects of pathogens on our own species.

The garden will be divided into three zones – Australasia, Arid and Tropical – by water features representing the ocean. A large British native sentinel tree will stand in the centre surrounded by planting typical of the climatic type. Reflective of botanic gardens, each plant or group will have a botanic name label identifying it.

By researching the effects of pathogens on our own species we can better understand and develop effective solutions. The garden will show how the UK Government is working with overseas botanic gardens to protect our environment against alien pest and diseases.

Inspiration for the garden has come from a new international project, led by the UK, aimed at creating a network of tree sentinels in botanic parks and gardens around the world. In the last few years, a number of new pests and diseases have emerged as significant risks to trees and plants in the UK including: Chalara fraxinea (Ash dieback) Phytophtora spp., Oak Processionary Moth and Asian longhorn beetle.

APHA is working with Botanic Gardens Conservation International as part of the International Plant Sentinel Network project.

The garden will be an important beacon to highlight the important work going on to prevent and tackle pests and diseases that can harm our native plants and trees. ‘Beyond our Borders’ will be exhibited in the Fresh Garden category.

Sarah has been awarded nine RHS Gold Medals including Best in Show at RHS Chelsea in 2007 and Best in Show at RHS Hampton Court in 2003.