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’Garden of the future’ has opened at Slimbridge


The RBC Rain Garden, which opened to the public at WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre, is being hailed as a garden of the future.

The garden is designed by award-winning designer Dr Nigel Dunnett to cope with periods of deluge or drought. The UK’s gardeners are having to adapt to more extreme weather as the effects of climate change take hold.

By mimicking some of the natural processes of wetlands, the RBC Rain Garden uses every drop of rain which falls upon it to service its planting beds and ponds. 

It features a building formed from a recycled shipping container that has a living roof, which slowly releases water to the garden throughout the day.

The opening of the garden to the public was marked with a ceremony attended by the garden designer Dr Nigel Dunnett, Martin Spray the chief executive of the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust and Louise Somerset, a Director from the garden’s sponsors RBC (the Royal Bank of Canada).

Veronica Chrisp, General Manager, at Slimbridge Wetland Centre, said: “The RBC Rain Garden is a wonderful addition to Slimbridge.
“This garden of the future, which is positioned at the exit to our grounds, enables us to plant an array of simple messages and ideas into the heads of our visitors as they head for home.

We hope that they will be encouraged to have a go and discover the multiple, practical benefits of rain gardens from harvesting rainwater, encouraging wildlife and bio-diversity and providing localised flood control.
“In short providing solutions- even small ones - to important environmental problems that affect us all.”

Louise Somerset, Tax Director at RBC Wealth Management, said: “This has been a really exciting project to be involved with and I’m delighted that RBC staff from our Cheltenham office were able to help with the construction of the garden here in Slimbridge. Thanks to Nigel’s brilliant design the garden was tremendously popular with the public at the Chelsea Flower Show and I’m sure that its success will continue now that it has a permanent home at the Wetland Centre.”
The RBC Rain Garden is closely modelled on the RBC New Wild Garden, which was the first full-scale rain garden to appear at RHS Chelsea Flower Show where it received a silver gilt award in May.

Over the last couple of months it has been carefully reconstructed at WWT Slimbridge in Gloucestershire using most of the original features and plants where it will remain as a permanent attraction allowing visitors to gain tips to take home on how to garden sustainably.

RBC donated the show garden to Slimbridge as part of the RBC Blue Water Project, a wide-ranging, 10-year global commitment to help protect the world’s fresh water resources..

Explore Gloucestershire
26 August 2011

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