UK city invests in urban garden to inspire more green fingered activity

Urban Gardening

One UK city is aiming to capitalise on the surge in popularity of gardening by building a new £40,000 urban garden at its Botanical Gardens attraction.

People wanting to try gardening for the first time or make over their small outdoor spaces will be able to find inspiration at the Gardens in Birmingham – with the site of a former Hampton Court Flower Show garden being replaced with four areas that promise to showcase what can be achieved in a small urban space.

The gardens will also be used for demonstrations and activities that it’s hoped will inspire people to get gardening and learn to love flowers – which is proven to deliver multiple benefits.

Caroline Clutton-Brock, Chair of the Friends, said: “This may be for individuals who have no access to gardens, people who have downsized or for those who want to start gardening in a small way.

“There is strong evidence to support the beneficial effects of gardens and being outdoors on our well-being and health and the coronavirus pandemic has brought that into sharp relief. The Urban Garden incorporates both leisure and educational aspects and is very much part of 21st century living.

“We’re excited to see this corner of the Gardens being transformed into something fresh and new, and as an independent charity that relies on memberships, visitors, trading and charitable donations for funding, we’re extremely grateful for the opportunity to be able to deliver it.”

The project is being supported by part of Birmingham City Council’s Local Innovation Fund, which was given to a Residents’ Society for the development of a community hub at the Gardens.

Peter Arnold, chairman of Calthorpe Residents Society, said: “We are keen to ensure that the Gardens remain a jewel in Birmingham’s crown. By promoting a Centre for Urban Gardening we hope to ensure that all city dwellers find it a place of inspiration and become members of the City’s gardening community.”

Work has just started on the Urban Garden and completion is expected in the autumn.

While Birmingham is focusing on small spaces, more and more cities across the world are developing evermore elaborate urban gardens and innovative city green spaces. Three of the most notable examples are:

Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

The Gardens by the Bay in Singapore have rapidly become world famous thanks to its ‘supertrees’ – a series of alien looking, man-made vertical gardens that are both sustainable and a tourist attraction.

Eleven of the ‘trees’ – linked by suspended walkways – harvest their own solar energy to power the choreographed Garden Rhapsody Light Show. Overall, the oasis boasts more than a million plants, a conservatory cloud forest and is fitted with an integrated system that allows them to reuse rainwater and generate bio-energy.

Gardens by the Bay, Singapore
The Lowline, New York

The Lowline, New York

Perhaps the original urban garden that sparked a global trend was The High Line – the disused railway line that was converted into a flower and plant filled elevated walkway in 2009. Since then, the Big Apple has continued to pioneer a collection of sustainable city gardens, including the less than imaginatively named Lowline.

An underground park set within the former Williamsburg Bridge Trolley Terminal in the Lower East Side, this futuristic community space will be occupied by more than 3,000 plants and will be fitted with giant reflectors and tubes that will flood it with natural light, when it opens in 2021.

Dubai Miracle Garden

Located in Dubai’s Al Barsha South district, this floral playground covers a whopping 72,000 square miles. Being located in the desert, it requires 165,000 gallons of water a day to keep it flourishing. The impressive numbers continue; It comprises pyramids, igloos and an abundance of artistic creations fashioned from no less than 100 million flowers.

Dubai has already picked up a Guinness World Record for creating the largest flower structure in the shape of an Airbus A380 aeroplane, while new floral creations are set to be unveiled in a rolling programme of seemingly impossible creativity – true Dubai style!

Dubai Miracle Garden