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Japan: “Gardening World Cup” sneak preview ahead of October opening

Japan Gardening World Cup

Sixteen thought-provoking garden designs, promoting international peace by some of the world’s best designers, are revealed this week ahead of the opening of Japan’s Gardening World Cup (8 October).
The contestants include four women from Europe who will make the journey to the other side of the world to build their peace gardens. They join 12 other designers, representing a total of 12 countries, to compete for medals.
Visitors to the Gardening World Cup will see work by the best designers from Australia, North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. It is unlike any other gardening event given the caliber of the designers involved and the competition criteria.
Show garden designs by Sarah Eberle (UK), David Davidson (South Africa), Jim Fogarty (Australia) feature alongside those of Jo Thompson (for Italy) and Jonathan Denby (the second UK entrant).
Sarah Eberle, who won her ninth gold medal at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show this year with her Monaco Garden for Prince Albert, has created ‘Finding Unity’ for the Japan event. Her design offers a contemporary European interpretation of ‘motifs’ for peace – the Japanese Hill and Pond, the Greek Elysium Fields and the English Picturesque.
Fourteen times gold medal winner at Chelsea, David Davidson’s design for South Africa’s entry is based on the concept of the ‘rainbow nation’ and through diversity comes knowledge, understanding and ultimately world peace.
The Australian entry, ‘Bushfire’, by Chelsea gold medal winner Jim Fogarty, is inspired by his personal experience of the ‘Black Saturday’ fires of February 7th 2009, only an hour north east from Jim’s home. His design shows that out of destruction comes regeneration and new life. Peace is once again restored to the bush.
Jo Thompson’s, ‘The Reconnection Garden’ for Italy, is intended to be a secluded, peaceful space that can be used as a place of retreat. Jo won gold and ‘Best in Show’ (urban gardens) at last year’s Chelsea Flower Show.
Appealing to the Japanese love of Beatrix Potter stories, is the British entry by Jonathan Denby, entitled ‘Mr McGregor’s Garden’. His sunflowers remind us of their use in helping to cleanse contaminated fields in Fukushima, and of Chinese artist and political dissident Ai Weiwei’s installation at the Tate Modern earlier this year.
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’s show saw 100,000 people visiting in the first week. It was so popular that it was extended by a further three months. Britain won overall with Canada, Holland and New Zealand also picking up gold medals.