'Small Space - Big Ideas' garden to feature at BBC Gardeners World Live

Gardeners World Live show garden

We are delighted to be bringing a garden to this year’s BBC Gardeners’ World Live Show, taking place at the NEC Birmingham from 16-19 June. The garden has been designed by the charity’s Gardens team led by Head Gardener Emma O’Neill, alongside Chris Collins, Head of Organic Horticulture and former Blue Peter gardener. The ‘Small Space – Big Ideas’ garden will show how a productive and biodiverse organic oasis is accessible to all growers, regardless of the size of their growing area.

Visitors will be inspired by how our design team have squeezed so much into a 5x5m fully paved garden, replicating the typical hard-standing urban front garden, balcony or back yard. Through clever use of containers, vertical planting and raised beds, the garden will be bursting with organically-grown heritage vegetables, fruit and pollinator-friendly flowers, creating a thriving habitat for biodiversity. 

Looking after your soil is at the heart of organic and sustainable growing, and that’s just as important if you’re growing in containers. To show soil improvement in practice, the ‘Small Space – Big Ideas’ garden not only includes two compost bins, but also a leafmould bin and a simple system to make your own comfrey plant feed. 

Wildlife will be encouraged via a number of entrance and exit routes, food sources and habitats, including a pond and bog garden for all-important amphibians. The team have even found room for a mini greenhouse to protect tender plants, and a water butt to harvest precious rainwater.

In honour of Lawrence D Hills, organic gardening pioneer and founder of Garden Organic, two alpine beds will take pride of place at the front of the garden, protected by all-important native hedging. 

The growing areas will be punctuated by pre-loved furniture providing plant shelving, a potting bench and tool store and, of course, an essential seating area to relax amongst the birds, bees and butterflies and enjoy the fruits of your labour.

Everything within the garden will be recycled, homemade or sustainably-sourced, showing visitors how they can achieve a beautiful and productive organic oasis without impacting heavily on the environment or their bank balance. 

“It’s common for people to think that if you have just a paved garden or small balcony, your ability to create a biodiverse organic growing area is limited, but that’s simply not the case.” Commented Chris Collins. “I have a small balcony in London and I’m always amazed by the food and flowers I can grow and the creatures I share my space with. All it takes is a little know-how which is what we’re here to help with.”

As well as creating an impactful garden,our ‘Small Space – Big Ideas’ garden features a number of simple projects that can easily be replicated at home. A 360° edible hanging basket, a vertical insect hotel and a 1m² vegetable bed are all projects visitors will be inspired to recreate in even the tiniest of growing spaces.

Our mission is to inspire as many people as possible to take up organic growing methods. To support this the garden will sit alongside an information and demonstration area, where our experts will be delivering a series of free talks and workshops, and will be on hand to share their advice and answer any questions. 

Come and visit us to join our movement of growers who care about the environment and biodiversity in all its forms. If all gardeners adopted just one or two organic growing methods in their own growing space our collective impact would be huge.”

Monday, 25 April 2022