The countdown to the RHS Tatton Show 2011

A mother and son have created the Oxfam/Cheshire Life garden at this year's RHS Tatton Show

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A mother and son team are hoping to win hearts and change minds with their garden design for next month’s RHS Tatton Show. The Oxfam and Cheshire Life garden has been designed by Dori and Howard Miller and will be strikingly different from other gardens on show at the event.

The When the Waters Rise garden has been created to highlight Oxfam’s Grow campaign, for better ways to grow, share and live together. It will highlight ways people across the world are coping with climate change, in particular flooding.

Dori, who will celebrate her 60th birthday the week before the show opens is a keen amateur gardener who created last year’s garden to mark the tenth anniversary of Chester Women’s choir.

Last year the show attracted 100,000 people and this year’s event - which runs from July 21st-24th - will include Visionary Gardens, Show Gardens, the RHS National Flowerbed Competition, Football Gardens, the announcement of the Young Designer of the Year, the Floral Design Studio, the Great Taste Food Market.  

Dori said: ‘The Oxfam garden will be a flooded garden and it will show some of the ways people have adapted their lives to cope, such as putting buildings on stilts and creating floating rafts to grow produce on.

‘We have used inspiration from areas of the developing world, along with some of our own ideas, and we have used local materials.’

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And Nicola Sansom from Oxfam said: ‘Climate change is affecting millions of people around the world. It is especially harming food production and therefore those who do the majority of the subsistence farming - women.

‘The garden should really help to make people think about the issue of climate change, but also be inspired by the innovative gardening techniques being used across the world to adapt to the changing climate. By doing this using British plants, it will also be a practical example of how people here in the UK can adapt their gardens to protect plants against flooding.

‘It also shows how by investing in small scale food producers the world can sustainably grow enough food - just one of the solutions to ensure a future in which everyone has enough to eat.’

Dori, a part-time teacher, has worked with her architect son Howard, 30, on the design of the garden. ‘She’s roped me in to helping in the garden for as long as I can remember,’ said Howard, whose own garden is a 15th storey balcony in London which is crowded with pots and planters.

‘She said after last year that she wouldn’t do any more but then she got excited about it again. The whole family is really proud of her.’ 

Read the Oxfam in Cheshire blog by Serena Tramonti

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