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RHS Hampton Court Palace Festival 2021

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award-winning garden designer
Felicity O'Rourke's

This garden addressed the 6th Mass Extinction threat to our planet, caused by our continual exploitation and destruction of its natural resources and ancient ecosystems. Its purpose is to jolt people into both an understanding of the enormity of the crisis and an appreciation of the scale of the behavioural change that we need to effect.


We have always believed that the radical change in our lifestyles was too hard, but our response to the pandemic has proven that a radical change in behaviour is possible for the long-term survival of our natural world and our species, Homo sapiens.


Could this be the jolt that will instil humility, hope and inspiration to save our natural world and our own species from mass extinction?

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"Extinction" garden design - Inspiration

Having worked as a commercial airline pilot myself, I was drawn to the idea of using the drama of a crashed aircraft to bring a sense of shock and awe to emphasize the concept behind this garden design.  After all, to see one of mankind’s greatest achievements in science and technology broken and destroyed conveys a powerful sense of loss, especially given that our thirst for air travel has exacerbated both climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic.


Similarly, I was keen to reference one of human kind’s greatest innovations, the domestication and harnessing of crop development during the agricultural revolution.  These large-scale intensive farming practices have transpired to be ultimately a source of weakness, leaving us over-reliant on a small number of species and hence vulnerable to pests and diseases whilst also requiring significant investment of natural resources.

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The central feature of this garden was a recently crashed commercial passenger jet buried in a large agricultural crop, leaving scorched and disturbed earth in its wake. 

Visitors walked around the shocking scene, and approached the cabin door where they are met with Police ‘Crime Scene’ tape, blocking their way.  From here they looked inside and see through to a beautiful verdant primoridal forest beyond.

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Ancient Survivors

This view served a portal to the past, present and future. It showed a forest of ancient species, which existed long before humankind set foot on this planet, which have survived to this day, and which will survive long after our own extinction. 

Sponsors for the Show garden include: Higgins Fairbairn & Co, Air Salvage International, RHS, Virtual Manager, Flourish Plants, The Palm Centre, KLC School of Design, Burnham Landscaping Ltd, Wildflower Turf, It's a Wrap Branding Ltd

A Huge Thank You!

to my supporters and Sponsors for making this awe-inspiring and thought-provoking design possible!
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