Portable gardens idea inspired by Victorians

This year’s RHS Malvern Spring Festival (10th to 13th May, 2018) sees award winning garden designer, Olivia Kirk, bringing inspiration to her show garden with two bespoke, portable terrariums.

Olivia is designing The Collectors Garden, her first show garden at RHS Malvern Spring Festival, celebrating the redevelopment of The Royal Porcelain Works (RPW) Worcester. The design provides an inspiring mix of history and modernity by linking the Victorian heritage of the RPW site with its exciting new re-developed 21st century role as a centre for the performing arts and modern craftsmanship.

Visitors to the Show will be able to see the mini portable garden that Olivia has included in the design, inspired by our Victorian forebears and very apt for young gardeners, who can take them with then wherever they happen to be living.

She explains that her design inspiration for the bespoke modern terrariums came from the original Wardian Case, which was invented by Dr Nathaniel Bagshaw Ward (1791-1868). These portable glass cases enabled the Victorian plant hunters to bring their plants back from around the world in safety.

Ornamental terrariums went on to become a popular addition to the Victorian parlour and these self-contained eco-systems are more than appropriate to today’s modern gardeners and generation rent as they allow urban millennials wanting to bring an outdoor garden into their homes.

The Terrarium designs also have a Japanese style influence with wooden handles and external shoji screens, which can be used to create additional shade. They can either be free standing on detachable legs or hung from the ceiling from the handle.

The Terrariums in The Collectors Garden have been planted by Terrarium specialists, London Terrariums and includes Asparagus Fern, Parlour Fern, miniature orchids, ivy and Calathea. So, a lovely all-year round garden that will thrive in the flexible and protected conditions of the Terrarium.

It is hoped that after RHS Malvern the Terrarium design will go into production and become available for the public to buy.

Olivia, who runs a design practice in Herefordshire, has three RHS Chelsea Medals including Gold and has designed many private and public space gardens around the UK. She said: “I read a report recently which said that 1 in 4 households are expected to be in living in private rentals by 2021. That’s an awful lot of people without their own garden. So, I wanted to create a portable mini garden that people can enjoy even if they live in an urban environment and they can take it with them when they move! Everyone should be able to enjoy the benefits of nature wherever they live.”

I think there is no doubt visitors will be delighted with these Terrariums and they will certainly be one of the talking points on Olivia’s garden.