Beautiful exhibits can be found on every avenue, drawing you in with their serene water features and perfectly planted borders. For me, however, there was one exhibit in particular whose glistening beauty really captured my attention. This is one exhibit that was designed to shine…
‘A Stainless Century’ is the work of renowned garden designer Phil Hurst and is intended to be a study on the impact stainless steel has had on the city of Sheffield since its invention one hundred years ago.
A central water feature represents the flow of molten metal while the steel wall running along the back of the exhibit takes influences from Sheffield’s futuristic car park- affectionately known to locals as ‘the cheese grater.’
The stunning steel pergola in the centre not only showcases the structural qualities of steel but its curved form was especially designed to reflect Sheffield’s famous Winter Gardens. Stainless steel shards are scattered across the garden foreground and glisten fabulously in the sunshine like metallic hundreds and thousands. The overall effect is just dazzling.
And what of the flowers? Well the garden is beautifully planted with a medley of wildflowers. The blue tones reflect the coolness of the steel- everything in this garden has symbolism. It has been designed with so much thought and so much precision it was not surprising to learn that the exhibit had been awarded the Best Large Garden title by the RHS.
So many people wonder what happens to large garden exhibits such as this one when all the visitors had departed and I couldn’t resist asking the exhibitor. I was delighted to learn that after the show ‘A Stainless Century’ is to be recreated in Stocksbridge, Sheffield in the vicinity of soon-to-be-built retirement apartments. The reason? The show garden has strong links to Stocksbridge, which is home to a large steel manufacturing plant, and so connects perfectly to the historical heritage of the town.
It is hoped that by returning the garden to Sheffield it will not only ensure its long term sustainability, it will be enjoyed by residents for many years to come.
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