Award-winning landscape designer Joe Perkins MSGD, has been commissioned for Meta’s Main Avenue garden at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2022 (May 24-28).
Joe has won three awards with his Chelsea debut for Facebook in 2019, with the Space to Grow garden, including an RHS Gold medal, Best Construction and the coveted Best in Category, a first for any Chelsea Flower Show newcomer.
The Meta Garden: Growing the Future is being supported by the National Forest, which will rehome the garden after the Chelsea Flower Show as part of The Queen’s Green Canopy campaign, focused on planting trees to celebrate The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
Inspired by the mission to support British woodlands and forests for future generations, the garden has been designed to highlight the crucial relationship between soil, fungi and plants, which together form the basis of resilient forest ecosystems.
The garden will be an immersive experience, featuring a complex pavilion structure that represents the mycelium networks that connect and support woodland life, a central seating area sunken within the environment rather than imposed above it, and a unique interactive installation that will bring to life the complex communication webs in nature beneath our feet.
Joe Perkins said: “I hope visitors 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 act together as communities ourselves to tackle climate change.
“The garden’s focus on the symbiotic relationship between trees, plants, and the mycorrhizae systems they depend upon, seeks to demonstrate the necessity of connection and how vital it is for the health of all communities.”
A colourful planting scheme of white, yellow, purple and red will feature specimens threatened by climate change, such as Linnaea borealis, as well as those well suited to predicted future climatic conditions like Sweet Chestnut and Douglas Fir. Alder will also feature for its ability to fix nitrogen in the soil, making it available to other species.
The naturalistic garden will also include a stylised meadow, showcasing almost 3000 plants both native to the UK and from around the world.
Following a successful partnership in 2019, Meta – the owner of Facebook and Instagram – is proud to partner with Joe again on a garden that embodies communities in all its forms and sizes: woodland-wide and microscopic; individual and collective.
Meta’s VP of Northern Europe, Steve Hatch, said: “The Meta Garden is all about championing natural ways in which we can tackle climate change and how we can protect our wonderful British woodlands.
“We’ve seen a boom in enthusiastic plant-lovers across the UK during the pandemic. 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 make more sustainable decisions for our planet.”
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 will be excited to see Joe Perkins’s 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.”