Sixteen of the world’s best garden designers will bring relief to a nation recovering from the terrible devastation caused by March’s earthquake and tsunami as they start work on the 26 September to build peace gardens in South East Japan.
The Japanese, renowned for their ceremonies to welcome the cherry blossom season and for their love of gardens, have one of the finest horticultural and landscape traditions in the world. Since Europeans first made contact with Imperial Japan their thinking has deeply influenced western gardens.
A total of 16 designers, four female and 12 male, have been picked to represent 12 countries and five continents. Visitors will see ‘peace’ gardens by the best designers from Australia, North America, Europe, Africa and Asia.
Hand-folded paper flowers, inspired by an ancient Japanese legend promising that anyone who folds a thousand origami cranes will be granted a wish; sunflowers which are now being grown to help cleanse contaminated soil in Fukushima; the figure eight, the Japanese Hachi symbol for happiness and good fortune; the story of the Black Saturday fires of Australia and European motifs of peace have all helped to inspire these gardens.
The Gardening World Cup takes place in the South East of Japan in a 17th century Dutch replica theme park the size of Monaco, Huis Ten Bosch. With its proximity to Nagasaki, the theme is deliberately, ‘gardens for world peace and a prayer for Japanese recovery’. This year it is being held in aid of the victims of the Japanese Tsunami.
The competitors have two weeks to build large gardens and courtyard gardens ahead of a televised Oscar nomination style awards ceremony on the 7th October 2011 at which the judges announce the winners. Last year Britain won the Gardening World Cup.
Last year’s show saw 100,000 people visiting in the first week. It was so popular that it was extended by a further three months. This year’s show will open from Saturday 8 October.