Ecological consultancy at RHS Tatton Show
20 July 2012
Dr David Wilkinson, an ecologist from the School of Natural Sciences and Psychology was invited to be the ecological advisor for one of the gardens at the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS Tatton) Show which opens this week.
The garden, commissioned by the Quaker Concern for the Abolition of Torture, is designed by Dori Miller, and is intended to raise awareness of Q-CAT’s vision to end torture and complicity in torture. The idea behind the design was to use ecological succession – the colonisation of bare ground by plants – as a metaphor for healing. As the visitors walk around the barbed wire fences that run down the middle of the garden they will go from bare demolition rubble to increasingly vegetated ground ending in a representation of natural oak woodland.
Reflecting on his involvement with the garden Dr Wilkinson said:
"It was really fascinating to be applying my understanding of ecology in such a novel way, helping with a show garden designed to raise awareness of such an important topic. This was a great way of bringing academic knowledge to the local community and helping to cross the perceived divide between science and the arts."
The designer Dori Miller commented:
"We are indebted to Dr David Wilkinson for advice on the planting plan for the succession. A major feature of the garden is an ecological succession on land that has been devastated by bombing. The ecological succession, starting with plants such as Rosebay Willow Herb and ending in a stand of oak trees, shows how land heals itself over time. This metaphor gives the hopeful messages that perhaps victims of torture can also be healed, and that plants can be part of the healing process."
The Tatton Garden was awarded a Gold medal at the event: http://www.rhs.org.uk/Shows-Events/RHS-Show-Tatton-Park/2012/Gardens/Garden-directory/World-without-Torture
Dr Wilkinson has also recently been profiled in the New Scientist for his research into the early human colonisation of islands
Further information about research at the School of Natural Sciences and Psychology is available at: http://www.ljmu.ac.uk/NSP/index.htm
Pictured above: Dr David Wilkinson discusses the planting with the designers Howard and Dori Miller