The Wuhan Water Garden is a conceptual Show Garden designed by architect Laurie Chetwood and landscape architect Patrick Collins, who have created four previous medal-winning gardens on the Triangle Site at the Chelsea Flower Show. Designed to be walked around and viewed from all sides, the Garden represents a journey through the contrasting natural landscape of China’s Hubei Province and the high-tech urban environment of the City of Wuhan. It is the second in a series of gardens representing China’s key cities that Creativersal has sponsored at the Chelsea Flower Show.
The Garden is inspired by the historic ability of Wuhan – China’s ‘City of 100 Lakes’ – to manage and control the flood waters of the iconic Yangtze River using man-made canals and lakes that ebb and flow according to the level of water in the river.
The journey around and through the Garden aims to arouse all the senses: the sense of ‘floating’ on the walkway, the changes of colour and texture of planting and materials from forest to city, the smell of the forest, the sounds of woodland birdsong and of water from the fountains and rills, the acoustic reduction of external sound and the enhancing visual effect of mirrored panels to create stillness and density in the forest.
The Garden was constructed using a modular grid system pre-fabricated off-site to ensure an efficient build process on Chelsea’s largest show garden plot.
Rising from a grid ‘platform’ base, vertical uprights and a tessellated ‘quilt’ of cubic containers will suspend the Garden’s various elements (forest, urban and aquatic planting, water features) along, around, above and below a suspended walkway that runs the length of the site through dense tree canopies, over the lush forest floor, and as a transparent bridge across the central city and lake.
The water features are made-up of a series of prefabricated interconnecting tanks on the same grid, representing the natural river and the controlled water management system. In the woodland area a series of ‘cloud’ misting features represent the source of the Yangtze River, which flows beneath the forest canopy as a series of meandering ‘mountain streams’, into a series of ebbing and flowing fountains in the central lake that, in turn, feed the canals and rills of the man-made landscape in the hinterland beyond.
Materials include rustic and solid timber, bamboo and Corten steel in the woodland and hinterland areas, emerging into colourful and reflective materials such as stainless steel, Perspex and lacquered bamboo in the central city zone.
The planting design reflects contrasting rural and urban landscapes. It is a celebration of Chinese flora particularly the flora of Hubei Province. It includes about 75 different species and 5500 plants.
Chelsea Flower show takes place 22nd – 26th May 2018 – for more information on the show https://www.rhs.org.uk/shows-events/rhs-chelsea-flower-show