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Wuhan Water Garden, China

Designed by architect Laurie Chetwood and landscape architect Patrick Collins. Designed to be walked around and viewed from all sides, the garden represents a journey through the contrasting natural landscape of China’s Hubei Province and the high-tech urban environment of the provincial capital Wuhan.

Wuhan Water Garden, China Chelsea Flower Show 2018 designed by architect Laurie Chetwood and landscape architect Patrick Collins

It is the second in a series of gardens representing China’s key cities that Creativersal is planning to sponsor at the Chelsea Flower Show. The City of Wuhan wants to promote itself to an international audience, highlighting its culture, history and architecture. The garden is a celebration of the natural and urban landscapes of the region and the centuries-old water management systems of Wuhan - China’s ‘City of 100 Lakes’ - that control flood waters using natural lakes and man-made canals that ebb and flow according to levels of water in the river. The vibrancy of the city is expressed through colour and geometric forms in the central area of the garden; this contrasts with the informal woodland style planting with a calmer character that represents the surrounding natural landscape.

Wuhan Water Garden, China Chelsea Flower Show 2018 designed by architect Laurie Chetwood and landscape architect Patrick Collins

Their garden contains about 75 different species and 5500 plants. The planting is a celebration of Chinese flora. The plants include those native to China, those occurring across the Northern Hemisphere including China, and garden cultivars with Chinese heritage. Key plants include Betula albosinensis, Cornus controversa and Ilex crenata, all native to parts of China including Hubei Province. Plants in the ‘city’ area, such as the Ilex, are more formal in their character and contrast with those of the ‘woodland’ which have more natural forms such as the Cornus and Betula. The 'city' planting is more colourful and contrasts with lush greens of the ‘woodland’.

Wuhan Water Garden, China Chelsea Flower Show 2018 designed by architect Laurie Chetwood and landscape architect Patrick Collins

The stylised 'woodland' landscape that surrounds the central lake and 'city' represents the forests that once covered much of Hubei Province. The woodland includes Betula albosinensis, Acer griseum, Cornus controversa, Heptacodium miconioides and Acer davidii, with a shrub understorey including Ilex crenata, Elaeagnus umbellata, Decaisnea fargesii, Hydrangea sargentiana.

Wuhan Water Garden, China Chelsea Flower Show 2018 designed by architect Laurie Chetwood and landscape architect Patrick Collins

Shaded ‘valleys’ and ‘streams’ offer a range of opportunities for different ground cover plant species. Elevated planters above the ground cover contain a variety of ferns, epimediums and other woodland perennials. The planting in and around the 'city' zone is very vibrant in contrast with the lush greens of the forest. The planting is laid out in a grid pattern and contrasts with the more informal planting of the 'forest', including specimens such as Morus Alba - roof form and Ilex crenata cubes. Flowering shrubs and small tree species such as Cornus kousa chinensis are underplanted with Rose (R.Mutabilis and R. Old Blush China), Peonies and other herbaceous perennials.

Wuhan Water Garden, China Chelsea Flower Show 2018 designed by architect Laurie Chetwood and landscape architect Patrick Collins

In wetland and marginal areas associated with the water feature 'streams' and rills, species include Iris typhifolia, Acorus gramineus, Equisetum hyemale, Typha angustifolia, Matteuccia struthiopteris, Ligularia dentata, Rodgersia aesculifolia, Rheum palmatum, Primula sp. Much of the planting has been pre-planted off-site into containers dropped into the ‘skeleton’ of the modular system.

Plant list

Acer griseum
Trachelospermum jasminoides
Dryopteris erythrosora
Wisteria sinensis
Deutzia x hybrida 'Mont Rose'
Dryopteris wallichiana
Polystichum tsussimense
Davidia involucrata
Cornus kousa var. chinensis
Liriope muscari
Euphorbia sikkimensis
Hydrangea aspera subsp. sargentiana
Artemisia lactiflora
Saxifraga stolonifera
Matteuccia struthiopteris
Houttuynia cordata
Hosta ventricosa
Typha angustifolia
Miscanthus sinensis 'Ferne Osten'
Bletilla striata
Rodgersia aesculifolia
Lilium lancifolium
Hosta plantaginea 'Aphrodite'
Acer davidii
Anemone leveillei
Pennisetum alopecuroides
Arisaema sikokianum
Ligularia dentata
Tilia henryana
Ophiopogon japonicus
Asarum splendens
Betula albosinensis
Cornus controversa
Viburnum plicatum f. plicatum 'Newport'
Ilex crenata
Liriope spicata
Pieris japonica
Astilbe chinensis
Euonymus fortunei