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30 Under 30: A catch up with Rachel Platt

by | 04 Aug 23 | Domestic Landscaping, Featured Slider, Features, Garden Design, Long Reads, Topics, Website Exclusive

A year after becoming one of Pro Landscaper’s 30 Under 30: The Next Generation winners, Rachel Platt has scooped a hat-trick of awards at this year’s RHS Flower Show Tatton Park, including the coveted People’s Choice Award.

Platt’s show garden at this years Tatton Park, ‘Chained to Tech’ in partnership with J. Parkers, explores the behavioural and psychological repercussions of excessive screen-based technology usage in young people.

Garden designer, Rachel Platt

Wonder Wolf Photography Headshot of Rachel Platt

“The theme was important to me because I’ve experienced it myself, and I think everyone I’ve spoken to has a son or a daughter that is addicted to technology in some way,” explains the 26-year-old designer.

A 2021 study of 1,043 students conducted at King’s College London found that nearly 39% displayed symptoms of smartphone addiction, with 68% of those expressing trouble with sleeping as a result.

“It is having a massive impact on peoples wellbeing and their health in general; it’s a really important topic to be talking about it.”

Platt’s design encompasses the world of digital addiction through visual representation in both the hard and soft landscaping elements of the garden.

“The construction detailing was mainly based on components of technology, like binary, circuit boards, and USB drives.

“I used weathered materials to symbolism when you’re using a lot of technology you’re not looking after your body.”

The planting comprised of drought tolerant species, including Phormium tenax and Punica granatum to symbolise the dry eyes caused by extended screen time, with the vibrant colours of yellow Eremurus (foxtail lily), and blue Agapanthus to denote the vibrancy of screens, unmatched by reality.

Chained to Tech Show Garden

Credit @ RHS

“Lots of people have interpreted it in different ways but I would say mainly it’s to do with the effects of technological addiction in the fact that it’s that instant gratification and euphoric feeling you get.”

In parallel to exhibiting the effects of digital addiction and their potential severity, Platt drew attention to the multiple wellbeing benefits available within nature that can offset the downward spiral of addiction.

“It is a difficult to get a young adult off the computer but when they do go out into nature, they do put down their phone away, even if it’s for just 15 seconds.

“Just going outside does help and I’ve seen it help people, so I think that’s the link there, I wanted that take home message to be that horticulture really can help.”

Chained to Tech is not Platt’s first exploration into the benefits of horticulture at Tatton, with her 2022 award-winning debut ‘The Covid Recovery Garden’, designed to exhibit the physical and physiological healing properties accessible through nature, relocated to a local hospital to provide a recuperation sanctuary for patients suffering from long-covid.

“It’s always good to highlight something like this. I don’t do small things, I talk about pretty dark, deep things.”

With Tatton now closed and three new awards under her belt, including Best Construction and a Silver Gilt medal, Platt is now focusing her efforts on an upcoming project in Edinburgh, of which she could not divulge too much information on, but watch this space.

If you’re interested in entering this year’s Pro Landscaper’s 30 Under 30: The Next Generation in partnership with Green-tech, or you’d like to nominate someone for the prestigious award, you can find more information here.



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