Caitlin McLaughlin Creates A Buzz at RHS Hampton Court
This year Garden designer Caitlin McLaughlin is creating a buzz at Hampton Court Palace with her entry ‘The Urban Pollinator Garden’ sponsored by Warner’s Gin. One half of the sister duo that is Thrift Landscapes, since designing their first show garden at Malvern back in 2014 ‘The Genetic Conservation Garden’, Caitlin and Thrift Landscapes have been involved in several show gardens including one at RHS Tatton in 2016 where Caitlin was awarded a gold medal for her entry’ Nature and Nurture’ and was announced as RHS Young Designer of the Year.
With a Master’s degree in the Field Of Study Conservation and Utilisation of Plant Genetic Resources, environmental impact and wildlife conservation is an important element woven into each design and The Urban Pollinator Garden is no different. The garden is designed as a place for the owners to relax and connect with nature where they can surround themselves with the unsung heroes of our gardens, the pollinators. It will be a haven for insects and pollinators, specifically bees.
RHS Show garden build addicts Conway Landscapes will be building the garden which will feature a sculptural habitat wall running the length of the garden. The contemporary honeycomb shapes will be packed with twigs and branches for solitary bees to nest and Bee Bricks from Green & Blue will also feature in the wall. Hexagonal paving will feature in the garden and bee-printed tiles will identify entrances to underground bumblebee nests. The planting will also encourage solitary bees and other pollinators to thrive, which in turn helps to support a range of wildlife and promote biodiversity.
The thought of surrounding yourself with bees may make you nervous but it really shouldn’t. Generally, solitary bees are harmless, some are actually sting-less and those with sting will only ever do so in self-defence, they won’t even bother to protect their own nests. 90% of the bee population is made up of solitary bees, lone bees who do not belong to a colony, these bees create nests in hollow reeds or twigs, holes in wood, or, in tunnels in the ground.
This garden provides a place to watch these interesting and efficient pollinators doing what they do best, without the pressure of keeping bees themselves. After the show, the garden will be re-homed at Cransley Hospice in Kettering, Northamptonshire, for the benefit of the patients, visitors and hospice staff.
For this bee-