When the Waters Rise – Oxfam garden wins gold at Tatton RHS Flower Show

By on July 20, 2011

Gardener Dori Miller, from Cheshire is celebrating winning the gold medal for her climate change inspired garden at Tatton RHS Flower Show.  Together with her son Howard, she created an Oxfam climate change garden called ‘When the Waters Rise”.

The garden reflects the plight of millions of women farmers in poor countries who have to battle every day against the effects of climate change to grow food. It showcases various methods that are being used across the world to adapt to climate change (focusing especially on how to adapt to flooding) but with a British twist.  The garden was awarded the gold medal in the show garden category.

Special features include floating gardens and specially designed willow baskets that can be raised above the flood line. Ducks made of willow, which will feature on the ‘flooded area’ of the garden, symbolise how women farmers in Bangladesh have to adapt quickly to feed their families on a daily basis, keeping ducks now instead of chickens that do not survive the frequent floods.

Dori said:”I did not expect to win a gold medal and I’m absolutely ecstatic.  This is a great achievement for all of the people who have contributed to make the garden possible.  The most important thing for me is that people today at the show have learnt about how women in developing countries are battling the effects of climate change to grow food.”

Dori, who exhibited last year at the show for the first time, has put an enormous amount of work, energy and passion in this project, and involved family, friends, neighbours and her whole community. Her architect son Howard travelled up and down from London at week-ends to work on the design with her. Children and teachers from Brookside primary school in Cheshire grew plants and made floating rafts. The professional female choir she is a member of, ‘A Handbag of Harmonies’, a 70 strong member choir based in Chester and directed by Matt Baker, could not resist her enthusiasm. The choir, who were in the final of BBC ‘Last choir standing’ in 2008, wrote an anthem, and designed an exclusive choreography especially interacting with the garden, which will feature in a repeated performance at the RHS Garden Show on 20th July.

Dori says: “Like most gardeners, I am very aware of how plants and also food, are grown, and how much work, care and dedication go into that. Women in poor countries have to battle every day against the effects of climate change, and find that growing food for their families is becoming more and more difficult. I wanted to do something which showed how women here in Cheshire care and are in solidarity with them.  It was such a huge team effort from my family and friends, and all the sponsors and winning the gold medal was an amazing surprise.”

Photo Supplied by Oxfam Northwest

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