Welsh coast redwoods from the Royal Forestry Society (RFS) helped evoke 100 years of conservation and evolution at the Royal Chelsea Flower Show.

Chelsea Pensioners on the stand
Chelsea Pensioners on the stand

The Garden proved so inspirational that it won a coveted Silver Gilt Award

Oxfordshire-based Applied Landscape Design designed the show garden on behalf of the GCA, and wanted to incorporate coast redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens), which had formed the focus of the GCA’s first major conservation campaign in the 1930s.

Importing redwoods from America was not a viable option so it turned to RFS, owner of the largest and oldest stand of coast redwoods in Europe – the RFS Charles Ackers Redwood Grove, near Welshpool. Some of the redwoods in the grove date back to original plantings imported from the US in 1857.

Redwood discs from trees that were about 80 years old, together with leaf litter and other materials, young redwoods from Dutch nurseries, and Californian ground-flora sourced from around the UK, formed the central theme of the interactive Chelsea Flower Show Lasting Legacy garden, which was designed to celebrate the evolution of gardening in the US.

The Lasting Legacy display showcases the many achievements of the GCA in horticulture, preservation of natural resources and education, says Applied Landscape Design director Kym Jones, and sets out key current centennial initiatives – including the Centennial Tree Project which has resulted in the planting of 23,500 trees in communities across the US.

The  coast redwoods, Jones adds, reflect one particularly important initiative from the early days of the GCA which saw the organisation establish itself as a forerunner in conservation. The role of redwoods at the heart of this display embraces elements of the centennial tree project and symbolises the continuity of the Garden Club of America’s commitment to education and scholarship.

Visitors to the stand were taken through a young redwood grove, walking on Leighton Redwood discs engraved with key dates from the GCAs first 100 years. This was surrounded by the scene of a redwood forest, with interactive displays and information reflecting conservation and preservation achievements and the evolution of the GCA.

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