Friday, July 24, 2015

RHS Tatton Park: Year of Light Gardens

The Year of Light gardens celebrate the UN designating 2015 as The International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies. Three gardens celebrate this concept. All of the Year of Light gardens achieved gold medals. The planting was beautiful in each - Achillea and Salvia ('Caradonna'?) were to be found in many of the gardens.
'Quantum of Light' was designed to represent a visual interpretation of a particle collision event in the CERN Large Hadron Collider. It appeared to achieve this very well - as an occasional reader of New Scientist, I've seen a few of these visualisations, and the link was clear. The box balls, ball structures, Agapanthus and Echinops all echoed the pattern.


Quantum of Light (gold)

'Reflecting Photonics' - another exciting garden. According to the blurb, it reflects the world-leading research into light-transmitting optical fibre by the University of Southampton. It was the devil's own job to take photographs of this one - it seemed forever haunted by Monty Don and various cameramen (see camerman's foot in second photo down).. The vibrant colours surrounding the 'fibres' below worked very well. I was less taken by the pale Hydrangea next to the structure, but that is probably my own personal prejudice against hydrangeas. I would imagine the use of white and then to bright colours illustrates the splitting of light into its component colours, so it obviously makes sense conceptually.

The structure in the garden was striking. It reminds me of the d├ęcor in 1970s Butlins at Barry Island. I think it must have been the light fittings. That sounds like I don't like it, but I do. I have very fond memories of Barry Island and its Perspex, coloured, light fittings.

'Reflecting Photonics' (Gold and Peoples' Choice best large garden)

And finally, I have saved my favourite until last. The planting in this garden was just perfect. The garden is 'Light Catcher'. This design explores the drama and ambience created by natural daylight, with the central structure funnelling sunlight down to a central reflective bowl of water. It radiated peacefulness, and the planting was so harmonious -a mix of bright and paler planting, and so tactile. A garden to dream in. Beautiful.

 'Light Catcher' (Gold and best Year of Light garden)

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