Appleton Thorn landscape architect and Priestley Alumnus Adam White won RHS Gold Medal, the highly coveted RHS Best in Show and the popular RHS People’s Choice Award at RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show last week.
Winning the treble is unheard at RHS Flower Shows as the public normally choose a garden for entirely different reasons to the judges.
Along with his design partner Andrée Davies they run a small design practice called Davies White Ltd which specialise in creating children’s nature play spaces and gardens.
Together they designed the Zoflora & Caudwell Children’s Wild Garden which highlighted the beneficial qualities of a therapeutic garden for children with various disabilities, in particular Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
It’s been ten years since they were last at RHS Hampton Court where they also won an RHS Gold Medal and People’s Choice Award for their Playscape Show Garden.
Playful and edible planting, wild grassy mounds, huge trees and tree-top nests, a huge spinning boulder, hidden woodland scent pots, a secret mushroom cave, a ground level trampoline, a giant hollow oak log and opportunities to play and explore along a woodland stream were all on offer. A number of secluded spaces within the garden provided somewhere safe to relax.
The RHS judges were particularly impressed in Adams enthusiasm for the project and his in depth research into ASD. BBC Gardeners World presenter Monty Don said the garden was like no other show garden he had ever seen before and was beautifully designed and constructed.
Following the show, the garden will be reimagined at the Caudwell International Children’s Centre at Keele University, Staffordshire, which provides multi-disciplinary support for children with developmental disorders. Adam and Andrée will again lead the design and oversee its delivery on site.
Landscape Architect Adam White said, “I am passionate about reconnecting children with nature and believe the design process is as important as the end product. We have serious epidemic of nature deficit disorder in the UK and I hope this garden will showcase and raise awareness of how landscape and horticulture can create the perfect antidote.
“The garden was designed to be accessible and inclusive for all children, including those with autism. Wining the treble was the icing on the cake. The project began when I was locked in a glass box for three days and nights in central London to raise awareness of autism. During my time in the glass box I made a scale model of the Wild Garden.
Working with the children as part of the design process was hugely rewarding, and we are now looking forward to seeing them enjoy the wild garden and allowing their imaginations to run wild.”
The garden also has a narrative, beautifully illustrated by artist Josh Knowles and brought to life by Room60 Animation. You can follow the adventures of Hampton the Butterfly as he explores the garden by visiting the Davies White website (davieswhite.co.uk) or You Tube Channel.
If you want to follow the life of the Wild Garden as it makes its way to the new Caudwell International Centre for Children simply follow Davies White on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram (@davies_white).