Garden honours Blue Peter

The New Blue Peter Garden: Discover Soil‘ garden at the 2022 RHS Chelsea Flower Show, will give soil a starring role and encourage youngsters to turn waste food into ‘soil food’.

Inspired by the longest running children’s programme in the world, the garden will be designed by Juliet Sargeant and after the show will move to RHS Garden Bridgewater in the autumn of 2022.

The first Blue Peter Garden, designed by Percy Thrower in 1974, had a sunken pond and statue of Petra. This was relocated from Television Centre to Media City in 2012. It still features regularly on the show and is open to the public to visit at Salford Quays.

The Chelsea Show garden aims to open the eyes of children and adults to soil’s central role in supporting life and its potential to lock-in carbon. The brightly planted garden will take you down into the ground and bring the soil up from beneath your feet, to see, touch and hear.

The immersive garden will encourage children to crawl into dank fern-planted cavities to dig the earth, listen to the sounds of a compost heap, dodge a rain shower and view soil-themed citizen art projects by Salford residents. The earthly adventure also features a subterranean, theatrical ‘Rhizotron Chamber’ where a soil animation will play, with tree roots growing above.

Blue Peter presenter Mwaksy will be joined by Henry the dog to officially open the garden on Press Day (23rd May 2022).

Juliet (pictured left) points out that down-trodden and neglected, soil is the forgotten climate solution beneath our feet: “Healthy soils not only feed most of life on earth, but also act as an essential carbon sink for damaging greenhouse gases,” she said.

I have personal experience from Tanzania in East Africa of the devastating effects of soil degradation and so I grasped this opportunity to bring the message of the importance of soil to children’s attention.”

Garden visitors will be encouraged to discover the importance of soil in their own back gardens, balconies or communities by learning the importance of why we need to protect it and how.

Lincolnshire-based sculptor Teresa Wells has cast a bespoke bronze of 4-year-old, Arthur, discovering a worm for the garden. Polish artist Zuzanne Kotodzieji has created a soil-themed animation for the Rhizotron Chamber and in the compost corner you can listen to the sounds of a healthy soil, recorded by the Zurich University ‘Sounding Soil‘ project.

Citizen art projects will include those from Year 5 children from Salford who have painted ‘creepy crawlies’ which they will personally install in the garden at RHS Chelsea. Residents from Salford will collaborate with German artist Anneli Ketterer during her artist residence at RHS Garden Bridgewater to create a soil artwork.

Cracked clay paving tiles have been created by Tiles of Stow to remind us of the devastation of drought. The Blue Peter link will be echoed in blue and orange-hued plants nurtured by Roger Platts Garden Design of Edenbridge.

The New Blue Peter Garden – Discover Soil‘ is one of three Main Avenue Gardens at this year’s RHS Chelsea being funded by Project Giving Back. PGB gives good causes in the UK the chance to exhibit with a show garden at RHS Chelsea to promote their cause while supporting the horticulture industry.

Juliet is a Sussex-based garden designer who loves to use gardens to tell stories and get us thinking. She was awarded a Gold Medal at RHS Chelsea in 2016 for her Modern Slavery Garden. She is a Fellow of the Society of Garden Designers and also of The Landscape Institute.

An innovative and exciting garden and we wish Juliet and her team every success as they prepare for the Show. One to look out for.

Garden design banner top:©Juliet Sargeant