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Meta’s award-winning Chelsea Flower Show Garden opens to the public at its new home in the National Forest

Meta and the National Forest have teamed up to re-home Joe Perkin’s gold medal-winning garden from this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show: The Meta Garden: Growing the Future. The garden will be revealed today at Conkers Discovery Centre, at the heart of the National Forest in Leicestershire, and will be open to the public from 30th July.

Meta has donated the garden to the National Forest as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy initiative, which is focused on planting trees across the UK to celebrate The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. The National Forest has transformed 200 square miles of the Midlands by planting nine million trees and reaching 22% forest coverage. 85% of the woodlands in the National Forest are also being actively managed which encourages good biodiversity and helps mitigate against climate change.

At its new home in the National Forest, The Meta Garden: Growing the Future will be available to the 250,000 people who visit Conkers Discovery Centre each year.

The garden has been designed to highlight the crucial relationship between soil, fungi and plants, which together form the basis of resilient forest ecosystems, and aims to promote the protection of British woodlands and forests for future generations. Visitors will be able to interact with the garden through a unique augmented reality filter created by Meta.

It is an immersive experience, featuring a complex pavilion structure that represents the mycelium (fungi) networks that connect and support woodland life, and showcasing almost 3000 plants both native to the UK and from around the world. Joe has designed the garden to fit into the larger space at Conkers and blend into the surrounding natural world.

The rehoming will support the community woodlands work of the National Forest, with the garden being cared for by local volunteers.

John Everitt, Chief Executive of the National Forest, said: “This is a forest of people, as much as trees, and is a forest for everyone. We are stronger growing together, as an entity, like the forest itself and the unseen mycelium that underpins its biodiversity. The networks of the National Forest are strong, and are essential to the changes we have seen over the past 30 years working with partners to create the Forest. We believe in the power of trees to transform people’s lives and the landscape, and are excited to see Joe Perkins’s The Meta Garden relocated to the Forest. Many more people will be able to see it here and enjoy his interpretation of our interdependence through a forest-inspired garden.”

Joe Perkins said: “I hope visitors to the garden will feel immersed in and inspired by nature’s interconnectedness and the myriad of macro and microscopic networks in nature that depend on each other to heal, grow, and thrive.

“There is an urgent need to redress the balance of our relationship with the natural world, and there is so much to learn from the connections in nature, both in terms of how we learn to support and preserve sustainable forest ecosystems, and in how we come together as communities – in-person and on platforms like Facebook and Instagram – to tackle climate change.

Steve Hatch, Meta’s VP Northern Europe, said: “The Meta Garden: Growing the Future is all about celebrating the people, organisations and communities coming together across the UK, including on Facebook and Instagram,  to enjoy, create and maintain woodlands, forests and green spaces for all of us to enjoy. The hope is that millions of people from local communities will be able to learn from and enjoy the garden in the years to come in its new home in the National Forest.

“2 million people in the UK are part of one of the 14,000 groups related to gardening, conservation and forestry. Individuals and communities are coming together on places like Facebook Groups and Instagram to share their tips, get inspired, and educate themselves on how we can all learn from nature to make more sustainable decisions for our planet.”

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