Build Gets Under Way for University's RHS Chelsea Garden

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The University of Worcester's entry for this year's RHS Chelsea Flower Show has been attracting a wealth of media attention.

University of Worcester GardenThe University of Worcester Garden, designed by first-time Chelsea exhibitor Olivia Kirk, features low allergen plants and materials, including low-VOC paint and sustainably sourced timber, and is linked to the work of the University’s National Pollen and Aerobiology Research Unit (NPARU).

More than 15 million people in the UK suffer from hay fever – about 25% of the population, according to researchers at the NPARU - rising to over 30% in young adults. The NPARU is a world leader in pollen research and produces all of the UK’s pollen forecasts.

Construction work on the garden, by local firm Speller Metcalfe, who have given their time free of charge, started on Thursday, May 13, before the show opens to thousands of visitors at Chelsea on Tuesday, May 25. The specialist low-allergen plants are being grown at suppliers around the Country and will be delivered direct to the site.

Olivia, of KKE Architects, Worcester, said: “It is getting very close now and I’m really looking forward to showing off this beautiful garden. It has been a real pleasure to work with the University in creating a truly unique garden that will hopefully show hay fever sufferers that there are options for enjoying their gardens.”

The University of Worcester Garden, which is supported by builders’ merchants Buildbase, features smooth pale grey limestone pavings, which pass under a pergola offering shade and shelter with seating and small pools of water. The Iroko pergola, which is being built by Midlands-based Woodcraft Joinery Ltd, has slatted timber roof infilled with stained glass in steel blue, rich amber and purple, which reflects the changing light throughout the day and is picked up by the garden lighting in the evening.

Olivia, of KKE Architects, Worcester, said: “The emphasis of the scheme will be different textures and colours of foliage used as a backdrop to pools of colour created by peonys, Irises, perennial geraniums and Astrantias. At the front of the garden is a multi-stemmed Amelanchier lamarckii chosen because it is low allergen and beautiful in all seasons.”

After the show the garden will be transferred to the University where it will be available for staff, students and visitors to enjoy.