The Eden team has been busy helping put together a show stand at the Chelsea Flower Show, in London, which has just been awarded a silver medal.
The WorldSkills plot, which features two brides clothed in eco wedding dresses, amidst a riot of gorgeous flowers, showcases the power of plants and what can be achieved when they’re combined with skills and human ingenuity.
So they called on us to help bring this alive for visitors with the kind of facts, figures and stories that we’re known for here at our own educational gardens.
Visitors to the show stand can explore the garden and its touch screens to find out the innovative ways humans use and cultivate plants, ranging from bamboo in China and cotton in India to flax from Canada and even fabrics made from wood pulp.
The two wedding dresses on display were created from bamboo and silk by dressmaker Julie Dutton, while the planting scheme was designed by TV presenter and garden designer Chris Beardshaw, a recent panellist on Gardeners’ Question Time in our Mediterranean Biome earlier this year.
The garden display combines bamboo with more traditional cottage garden plants used for dyes (such as marigolds and foxgloves), wedding bouquets (including peonies and roses) and scented fabrics (rosemary and lavender).
The global vocational membership association WorldSkills International has created the stand to help promote this October’s WorldSkills event, a sort of skills Olympics during which teams of young people battle it out to be the best at their chosen skills, from landscape gardening to robotics.
At Chelsea WorldSkills is offering people the chance to try their hand at a few plant- and wedding-related skills there and then, including making jewellery, creating corsages and using fresh flowers in hairstyles.
But the link between Eden and WorldSkills goes further than just plants, explains Eden’s Howard Jones. The two organisations are also about ‘getting people involved, inspiring the thoughts and deeds of people, changing entrenched attitudes; encouraging enterprise, innovation and skills to promote balance and achievement across society’.
Howard leads Eden’s work on equipping people, particularly those who’ve been marginalised from society, with the skills they need to get ahead in life. Through programmes like Growing for Life, which started off as a horticulture session in Dartmoor prison, Eden has celebrated some fantastic successes with these groups, including winning two silver medals at the Chelsea Flower Show together.
Visit the stand at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show from 24-28 May 2011.