Pro Landscaper sits down with RHS Gold medalist Martyn Wilson of Wilson Associates Garden Design to discuss his work in bringing the RAF100 Garden to life after an incredibly successful crowdfunding campaign.
When will garden construction commence?
Construction will start on the 16 April 2018.
Who sponsored the garden?
The garden has been generously sponsored or supported by a number of businesses and organisations including the RAF100 Appeal who the garden will be supporting and the landscaping and horticulture industry not least the Three Counties Show Ground and the RHS. Readyhedge, Rolawn, Londonstone, Loknan Architectural, Deepdale Trees and Stark Greensmith, were among the other garden sponsors. Help was also received from the aerospace defence industry – Lockheed Martin UK and Safran Landing Systems, as well as members of the public via our Just Giving page.
Can you tell us about the garden design?
The show garden will be a celebration of the centenary of the formation of the Royal Air Force (RAF) in 1918. The garden will feature references to the heritage of the RAF, but will also look to the future.
The garden is entered by steel gates that will be laser cut with the words RAF100 to commemorate this significant milestone in the RAF’s proud history. Surrounded on four sides by hedging, donated by Readyhedge, two sides will include Corten steel panels from Stark and Greensmith, laser cut with different periods.
The garden is crossed by four elliptical pathways which are informed by the shape of a four bladed propeller. The pathways arrive at a central seating area, a space for reflection and discussion which will feature a central sculpture formed from aircraft parts.
A mixture of topiary shaped balls will be a reference to radar and the so called ‘Golf Balls” at RAF Fylingdales and nearby at the former RAF Defford, Worcestershire a home of early radar research. White barked Birch trees reflect peace whilst referencing the birch ply of early aviation and air frames. Perennial planting will reflect the ‘colours’ of the RAF dress and tie, but evoke the billowing nature of clouds and vapour trails.
What significance does the project have to yourself?
The garden ‘Memories of Service’ is informed by garden’s designer Martyn Wilson and his own and four generations of his families service in the RAF. He started his show garden career by designing and building his first show garden to support the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund in 2014 winning an RHS silver medal. Martyn joined the RAF in 1988 as a Supplier with tours at RAF Brize Norton, RAF Bruggen (Germany), RAF Odiham and detachments to the Royal Tournament, London and on NATO peacekeeping to Palermo, Sicily. Martyn is one of four generations of his family who have served in the RAF including his grandfather and father. His brother and sister-in-law are both currently serving and are stationed at RAF Brize Norton.
How do you see the garden enhancing the area?
We are extremely honoured and excited that the Three Counties Agricultural Society have elected for the garden to remain in-situ at the Three Counties show ground as a permanent tribute to those who have served and continue to serve in the RAF. We would like to thank the Royal Horticultural Society and the Three Counties Agricultural Society for their tremendous support.