A DYNAMIC design duo from Ledsham have struck gold at the RHS Flower Show at Tatton Park this week.
Mother and son team Dori and Howard Miller were awarded the Royal Horticultural Society’s top medal for their design of the Quaker Concern for the Abolition of Torture (Q-CAT) garden World Without Torture.
This is the second gold medal for the pair, who first collaborated on the design of Oxfam’s garden When the Waters Rise at last year’s show.
Amateur designer Dori first won a silver medal in 2010 for her Back-to-Back garden design to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Chester choir A Handbag of Harmonies, of which she is a member.
Architect Howard was lead designer on the Q-CAT project which was inspired by the group’s aim to end torture and complicity in torture.
High security fencing, prison gates, a cell and barbed wire give the visitor some of the feeling associated with imprisonment and torture. In the cell, you hear voices of torture survivors spoken in their mother tongues in an installation created by University of Chester student Wayne Szabo, a member of the Harlequin Project.
Retired teacher Dori said: “Many of the materials used to make the garden are hard, uncompromising and brutal and building it has given us an insight into the disorientation caused by torture.
“The plants demonstrate ecological succession – we start with a bomb site where dandelions and buddleia start to poke through the devastation. As you walk through the garden there is more mature growth, showing that the life force of plants can push through.”
Other winners at the show, which runs until Sunday, include a silver-gilt medal for Ness Botanic Gardens A Taste of Ness, designed by Phillippa Probert, of Outer Spaces and Reaseheath College’s Nature Squared, created by students.
The Mornflake Garden, designed by Janine Crimmins and sponsored by Crewe-based Mornflake Cereals, won the overall RHS award of Best Show Garden.
Cheshire children also put their horticultural skills to the test in the school’s front-to-front gardens and North West Schools container sections.
Pupils from Eaton Primary School grew their own plants to create a small garden based on the children’s TV programme In the Night Garden while nursery and reception children at Upton Westlea and Tushingham-with-Grindley CE Primary School concentrated on the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee to design creative containers based on a tea party and a school bus respectively.
Husband and wife team Heather and Gareth Battison-Howard, of Bulkeley, near Malpas, have created one of only three visionary gardens in the show. Inspired by the work of British mathematician and computer scientist Alan Turing, their concrete and minimalist planting has hidden messages and meaning.
One first time exhibitor this year is willow sculptor Sarah Gallagher-Hayes.
Based in Helsby, Sarah has created a farmyard scene and will be on hand throughout the show offering willow workshops for people of all ages.
Visitors are advised to wear wellies or sturdy footwear as following recent rain, the ground at Tatton is very muddy.