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As the world's most famous flower show throws open its doors for 2011, a sustainable “rain garden” is proving one of the main attractions.

Designed to capture every drop of water that falls onto it, the Royal Bank of Canada New Wild Garden is the creation of award-winning designer Dr Nigel Dunnett and colleagues from The Landscape Agency, including Newcastle University graduate Ed Payne.

“We’ve designed the garden in such a way as to capture and use every single drop of rain that falls onto it,” explains the former biology student.

“From the living roof on the building, through to the collecting pools below and the soakaway planting area, the garden brings water to life, making the garden water-cycle visible, and retaining water that would otherwise be lost.”

Drawing on the ideals of Victorian horticulturist William Robinson – a pioneer of modern gardening and an advocate of the principles of sustainable gardening – Ed said one of the key aims of the design was to highlight the importance of not wasting our most precious resource.

Placing sustainability at the heart of the project, the garden also includes a recycled shipping container to create a novel office space and a deck constructed from timber reclaimed from sea defences on Southend sea front.

Incorporating reflective pools which capture rainwater and sculptural dry stone walls, the concept is based on the new Rain Garden the team developed last year for the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) London Wetland Centre.

“Everything in the garden is recycled, reclaimed or re-used to create a system that is totally sustainable,” says Ed. “It’s an ethos which we place at the heart of all our projects – looking at how new technologies and materials can be used to restore and revive areas in a way that enhances and benefits the environment.”

Lynn Patterson, Director of Corporate Responsibility at RBC, added: “The team has conceived a design that is hugely innovative and immensely relevant to 21st-century city living.

“The sustainability message, which is at the heart of the RBC New Wild Garden’s design, aligns perfectly with our ongoing commitment to water preservation.”

 

published on: 24th May 2011

Key Facts:

  • Newcastle University is a Russell Group University
  • We rank in the top 20 of UK universities in The Sunday Times 2013 University Guide
  • Amongst our peers Newcastle is:
    • 5th in the UK for graduates into jobs (HESA 2011-12)
    • 10th in the UK for student satisfaction
    • Ranked 8th in the UK for Medical research power
    • In the UK’s top 12 for research power in Science and Engineering
  • 95% of our students are in a job or further training within six months of graduating
  • We have a world-class reputation for research excellence and are spearheading three major societal challenges that have a significant impact on global society. These themes are: Ageing and Health, Sustainability, and Social Renewal
  • Newcastle University is the first UK university to establish a fully owned international branch campus for medicine at its NUMed Campus in Malaysia which opened in 2011
  • We get a 92% satisfaction rating from our international students (ISB 2013)