Show’s opening day reveals tribute to host city
Birmingham’s ‘roots’ are on display at BBC Gardeners’ World Live show, as the city’s industrial and rural history is brought back to life as a show garden.
The show, which opens today and runs until June 17, reveals the ‘Made in Birmingham’ garden, which incorporates the railway network, the rural landscapes of the Forest of Arden and the brewery culture of the Black Country.
The focal point is a fully operational steam train carriage, laid on real railway tracks, and set against a purpose-built platform.
The Pullman dining carriage will be transported from Vintage Trains in Tyseley to the NEC, where the exhibition centre’s grounds will be excavated to lay tracks for the carriage to arrive.
The railway embankment features a cut-flower patch, which designer Paul Stone will be growing and planting with the help and guidance of Solihull Mind, a local mental health charity.
This sits next to an allotment of prize produce, commonplace along the turn-of-the-century Birmingham rail lines and a salute to the city’s historic fruit, veg and flower market.
In a nod to the region’s small breweries and brewpubs, a field of barley and hops will surround the carriage, along with craft beer samples being served from the garden by Smethwick-based producers, Davenports Brewery.
Designer Paul Stone said: “Birmingham and the BBC Gardeners’ World Live show are synonymous, and I really wanted to pay respect to the amazing history of the host city.
Centre of trade and travel
“The Pullman carriage is a throwback to how Birmingham brought the country together through the Grand Junction Railways, and how the nation needed this city to trade and commute.
“It’s also been amazingly rewarding working with Solihull Mind, and I hope this project can show the benefits gardening can have on mental health.”
Bob Sweet, horticultural director of BBC Gardeners’ World Live, said: “Paul’s design is very imaginative, growing a lot of plants which aren’t in season, but the designs are flawless and they really capture the spirit of Birmingham from years gone by.”
Tickets for the show include access to the BBC Good Food Show, visit www.bbcgardenersworldlive.com.