Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Sowing Seeds of Hope at Chelsea

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Sowing Seeds of Hope at Chelsea

Article excerpt

Byline: By Tony Henderson

Easter is the traditional start of the gardening year.

But Alan Capper is putting the finishing touches to a garden which aims to transform people's lives by combating poverty and malnutrition.

Newcastle-based landscape architect Alan has designed the garden for next month's Chelsea Flower Show.

It will raise awareness of the work of Garden Africa, a charity set up to develop and support garden-related projects across Southern African countries.

The organisation takes over derelict land next to schools, hospitals and clinics and uses plants which meet community needs ranging from food and medicines to crafts and building materials.

The gardens are used to train people who then replicate the formula in their own communities, thus spreading the concept.

The Chelsea garden will herald the start of a five-year programme to establish 1,001 training and resource gardens which are expected to result in 500,000 new home and community plots to benefit three million people.

Alan, who runs Kent Design in Newcastle, has fashioned the Chelsea garden in co-operation with designer Ross Allan and African farming expert John Nzira.

The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew is providing most of the African plants and the Eden Project in Cornwall is also donating specimens.

After Chelsea, Alan's garden will be recreated at the Eden Project and the design will also be used in Africa as part of the training programme.

The African township garden will be a stark contrast to Alan's last two Chelsea entries, both in the Chic garden category. In 2002 his creation was the Great North Garden, a courtyard concept for urban areas.

A year later Alan came up with the fashion show themed Catwalk garden, which was graced at Chelsea by model Jodie Kidd.

But while the 2002 garden used materials like French silver boules, orange pebble lights, glass marble cobbles, and stainless steel edging, the African version will feature a hut with corrugated roof with used coke cans around its windows, old tyres, drink crates, and rusty oil drums from a scrapyard. …

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