Yorkshire's canals and industrial heritage are the themes of Welcome to Yorkshire's 'most ambitious' RHS Chelsea Flower Show entry yet.
The garden is the tourist organisations tenth entry into the prestigious show – in the year which marks Welcome to Yorkshire’s 10th anniversary.
Legendary Barnsley poet Ian McMillan performed a brand-new bespoke poem on the garden written specially for the occasion.
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He was joined on the garden by Yorkshire paddle boarder Jo Moseley who took to the water on her SUP (stand up paddle board) to highlight the leisure and tourism benefits of canals and waterways and the many activities people can now enjoy on them.
The show-stopping feature of the garden is a canal with two genuine lock gates which have which have been donated to Welcome to Yorkshire by the waterway and wellbeing charity Canal & River Trust, who have specially adapted them for the garden to make sure Mark Gregory’s design is as authentic as possible.
Last year's Welcome to Yorkshire sponsored garden, also created by Mr Gregory and inspired by the Yorkshire Dales, won a gold medal.
It earned Mr Gregory the BBC People’s Choice Award and the Best Construction Award and it was visited by the Queen during her official appearance at the event.
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Welcome to Yorkshire’s Commercial Director Peter Dodd said: “Mark’s been incredibly ambitious this year – but it’s worked – this garden has the real wow factor! His bold plan to source and adapt genuine canal lock gates combined with his incredible attention to detail has proved a great combination. The garden beautifully brings to life not only Yorkshire’s proud industrial heritage but celebrates the brilliant way our canals and waterways are used today for leisure, tourism, health and well-being.
“This is the greatest horticulture event in the world and such a fantastic opportunity to showcase Yorkshire to a global as well as a national audience. This authentic taster Mark has created will be sure to inspire people to visit and explore the county’s stunning green spaces for themselves.”
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Garden Designer Mark Gregory said: “This is my 99th garden at the Chelsea Flower Show and I was determined to make it one to remember. Bringing a canal to the heart of SW3 has been no mean feat and myself and the team have really pulled out all the stops.
“I truly hope people will feel transported into an authentic patch of Yorkshire and if the idyllic scene encourages visitors to head north to experience the breath-taking region for themselves then we’ll have done ourselves and the county proud.”
Sean McGinley, Director of Yorkshire & NE for Canal & River Trust added: “Mark and his team have created a stunning garden for Welcome to Yorkshire. As the charity that looks after the nation’s waterways, we’re thrilled to have helped realise the garden and it’s been a fantastic opportunity for our apprentices and team to be part of.
“We believe life’s better by water and are passionate about encouraging people to enjoy spending time exploring our 2,000 miles of waterways. Hopefully this slice of Yorkshire will encourage people to visit the region and spend time by the canals and rivers that we know can help improve our health, wellbeing and happiness.”
YORKSHIRE IS A GARDEN by Ian McMillan
Yorkshire is a garden for the body and the mind,
Yorkshire is a garden for the ear and for the eye;
Step into our garden and you will quickly find
Something here to make your spirit fly.
Yorkshire gleams like water in the early morning;
Life’s better by water so the wise folk say
Walking on the towpath as the Yorkshire light is dawning
Making you feel feelings that will never go away
As history’s laid before you like the petals of a rose;
A white one: this is Yorkshire after all!
A sunset leaks across the sky as the lock gates close,
The canal shines like a promise solid as a Yorkshire wall.
Yorkshire is a garden; come and join us for a while
Sit and look or wander; take your time
And you’ll find that soon your face will break into a smile
That’s as perfect as this perfect Yorkshire rhyme.