The world’s biggest container garden on my doorstep!
Gateshead Quays is to become the site of what could be the world’s biggest container garden, designed by RHS Chelsea gold medallist Diarmuid Gavin.
The Urban Garden is expected to be open for several years and will be built with up to 90 40ft and 20ft shipping containers.
Stretching from the Swing Bridge to HMS Calliope, the 192-metre long site is on Hillgate Quay – the former site of the Tuxedo Princess and Royale party boats – near the Tyne Bridge.
The garden will be open in time for The Great Exhibition of the North, which begins on June 22, 2018, and will be an attraction for the NewcastleGateshead World Transplant Games in 2019.
‘Majestic and unique’
Diarmuid, known for his boundary-pushing designs, has described the plans as “majestic and unique”.
Open areas of trees and mixed planting will grow alongside the shipping containers, which will house retail and catering units, art exhibitors and start-up businesses.
Of the site’s two main areas, The Plaza Garden will have 30 containers marking out open walkways and an enclosed space. The Main Urban Garden will have 60 stacked containers to represent a walled garden.
Trees are planned for the roofs of the containers along with fruit and vegetables which will supply the catering outlets. Wooden crates will be used to grow food including wheat, corn, and hops.
‘Proud history and visionary future’
Diarmuid said: “I want to create a remarkable garden at the heart of Tyneside with a majestic and unique design.
“I want it to be an attraction that builds on the heritage of the last great North East Coast Exhibition which sets out a story of a proud history and a visionary future.”
Gateshead Council Leader Martin Gannon said: “These are very exciting proposals which would certainly further energise Gateshead Quays.
“Not only would it bring even more visitors to Gateshead and indeed the region, but local entrepreneurs, social enterprises, and local people would have the opportunity to be involved in a unique horticultural project.”
National Trust and volunteers
It’s estimated that more than 200,000 people could visit the garden annually. Up to 100 people will work at the site, with the garden being looked after by National Trust gardeners and volunteers.
The commercially funded scheme will be funded by private investment.
Gateshead Quays is already part of a massive regeneration plan, which includes the relocation of the 12,500 seat regional arena from the Newcastle side of the Tyne, plus a conference and exhibition centre, hotel, bars, and restaurants, which is due to open in 2021.
For further information on the project, see www.gateshead.gov.uk/urbangarden.