Planning for our exhibit at RHS Tatton 2016 has been underway for some months now.
The theme was set long ago: how our coral reefs are degrading. It’s shocking and terrifying.
Some time ago I watched a David Attenborough TV programme about this topic with my kids.
They were shocked too, so much so that they wrote to Sir David to express their concerns and to tell him
how he’d sparked their interest in this subject. He kindly replied to them (that made their day I can tell you!)
and in fact from there I started to really look into it too. So much so that it kicked off an idea for our
next exhibit at RHS Tatton
Martin (our senior designer) and I have been researching, plotting, scribbling, poring over plant guides,
and ‘brainstorming’ for months to come up with a design we’re happy with, one that reflects our concerns
for this wonderful natural habitat and yet hopefully interests and inspires the visitors to RHS Tatton Show at the same time
Our 3M x 3M bed aims to raise awareness of the dangers that face coral reefs in the current world climate, to celebrate the beauty and majesty of coral reefs and encourage people to become more environmentally aware of their actions, an important and little known issue that will not disappear any time soon.
In our bed, a coral reef is represented by an explosion of colourful plants. Surrounding this is a ring of white planting enclosing the coral reef, representing acidification. The final element of the bed is a formation of rocks in the centre that represents rising sea levels and anchors the bed aesthetically.
Weather permitting (!) the wide variety of plants that bloom during late summer will allow us to create a tapestry with depth, colour and texture – much in the way vast numbers of corals form together to create a reef full of life. We’ve selected plants that will attract bees and insects – to represent the fish that live around, and depend upon, the coral reef.
Acidification is a major issue facing coral and if more is not done to prevent further damage, coral reefs will continue to struggle growing and will eventually die out. When the PH levels of the ocean are knocked off balance, thanks to rising carbon dioxide levels in the earth’s atmosphere, coral growth is greatly slowed, eventually to a standstill. This leads to loss of habitat for local wildlife, which in turn leads to an entire coral reef devoid of life and colour. The white ‘ring’ of planting that surrounds the centre of the bed represents this process of acidification as it surrounds the remaining living coral and threatens to overcome it.
Finally, a central formation of rocks will represent the way each years rising sea levels are also a threat to the survival of coral reefs.
We hope to see you at Tatton – come and say hello!