The world’s most extra-ordinary world cup opens to the public next Saturday (8 October) in Japan.
Despite torrential rain, burst water pipes, a mad dash to secure plants and release precious cargos from customs, 16 of the world’s best designers will have had just ten days to build peace gardens from scratch for the Gardening World Cup when it opens next week.
Unlike any other gardening event, the designers have had to use their build time to check on and source plants and trees, meet and brief the constructions teams as well as produce a garden of world cup standards which could be on show for as long as four months when one week is the norm. They have also all been given the same, tight budgets to work too.
A total of 16 designers have been picked to represent 12 countries and five continents giving visitors the chance to see ‘peace’ gardens by the best designers from Australia, North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. Large gardens will be designed by Sarah Eberle (UK), Jonathan Denby (UK), David Davidson (South Africa), Jim Fogarty (Australia), Britain’s Jo Thompson (for Italy), Nico Wissing (Netherlands), John Cullen (America), Lim in Chong (Malaysia), Ryoji Fujiwara (Japan) and Kazuyuki Ishihara (Japan) who conceived the idea of the event.
The designer faced with the most challenges has been Jonathan Denby. A snail was found in his container of Lake District artefacts for Mr MacGregor’s Garden, shipped from the UK. Because of Japanese quarantine conditions it has had to be returned to England.
"The Japanese adore the Lake District and I wanted visitors to see what a real Lake District cottage garden would look like. I'm bitterly disappointed that this wretched snail has taken away a lot of the true authenticity of my garden. I will replace the Lakeland slate walls with a wooden fence and the limestone paths with grass. It will still look good and I'm sure the Japanese will adore it with Peter Rabbit there, but that snail has a lot to answer for. Although I'm not really in the mood for humour now I can see the irony in the champion of the Slow Life being laid low by a snail" said Jonathan.
The Gardening World Cup takes place in the South East of Japan in a 17th century Dutch replica theme park the size of Monaco, Huis Ten Bosch. With its proximity to Nagasaki, the theme is deliberately, ‘gardens for world peace and a prayer for Japanese recovery’. This year it is being held in aid of the victims of the Japanese Tsunami.
The 10 large gardens and five courtyard gardens will be judged on Friday (7 October), Andy Sturgeon returns this year as a judge. Medals, Best in Show and Best Design will be announced at a televised Oscar style awards ceremony. Last year Britain won the Gardening World Cup with Best in Show going to Andy Sturgeon and Best Design to Nico Wissing.
Last year’s event saw 100,000 people visiting in the first week. It was so popular that it was extended by a further three months. This year’s show will open from Saturday 8 October.
For more information about the designers and their designs visit: gardeningworldcup.com
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