New public gardens in Yorkshire that will inspire your own planting

An artist's imression of the new Hepworth Wakefield garden in the summer

An artist's imression of the new Hepworth Wakefield garden in the summer - Credit: Archant

Ambitious plans are going ahead to create new and unique public gardens that will inspire your own planting

Mathias Gmachl (left), Rachel Wingfield (centre) with young Johan Gmachl and Eden, a volunteer for S

Mathias Gmachl (left), Rachel Wingfield (centre) with young Johan Gmachl and Eden, a volunteer for St Nicks Centre for Nature and Green Living (York) ready for work at the Plant Pavilion Photo: Charlotte Graham - Credit: Charlotte Graham

A team of artists and volunteers is creating a timber pavilion filled with hundreds of pots of local flowering plants to attract insects. It is part of an installation celebrating York Mediale, a new media arts festival taking place this month.

The Plant Pavilion is the first stage of Pollinarium a project by Loop.pH, a London-based team that creates art installations around the world with an ecological and environmental theme.

‘We’ve just installed the first part of this project – a wooden planting structure inspired by cathedral arches – in the Artists Garden at York Art Gallery, which will grow to create a particularly attractive environment for all kinds of pollinating insects, from bees and beetles to butterflies and moths,’ said Rachel Wingfield, co-founder of Loop.pH.

‘We’ve been working with the team from St Nick’s Centre for Nature and Green Living (York) to choose suitable plants, and they will be running workshops and activities themed around pollination throughout the summer for visitors to the garden.’

Laura Turner, exhibition programme officer for York Museums Trust said it was a fascinating project. ‘At this time of year York Museum Gardens positively buzz with pollinators attracted to the many floral displays. These often tiny creatures are sometimes overlooked so we are delighted to be putting them centre stage in our Artists Garden this summer. It is a fascinating project and we hope visitors will enjoy seeing it develop over the coming days.’

Rachel Wingfield begins work on the Plant Pavilion Photo: Charlotte Graham

Rachel Wingfield begins work on the Plant Pavilion Photo: Charlotte Graham - Credit: Charlotte Graham

The next stage in the project is Archilace, a structure made from carbon fibre and fibre-reinforced plastic around which climbing and trailing plants can grow. It’s described as ‘urban knitting’ to reflect the way strands of the fibre are twisted together to create architectural honeycomb-style freestanding wall sections. The unique technique has been used to create stunning sculptures in the grounds of Kensington Palace, Kew Gardens and Versailles in France with a piece in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

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The final stage of the project, which has been co-commissioned by York Mediale, York Museums Trust and environmental organisation Invisible Dust, will invite visitors to experience the world through the senses of a pollinating insect. ‘Education is such an important part of York Mediale, and the Loop.pH team is among the best in the world at creating beautiful structures with a strong environmental message that can be understood by young and old alike,’ said Mark Carlin of York Mediale.

‘The wooden pavilion and Archilace are both beautiful structures that will entice people in for a look and to find out more. When it is complete with the plants all fully grown, we hope that many people will return to gain a unique perspective on pollination – seeing the world through the eyes of a pollinating insect in a remarkable immersive experience.’

The completed Pollinarium runs from September 29th-October 6th. For more information go to

Gallery garden

There is an ambitious £1.8million project to create a world-class public garden at the award-winning gallery The Hepworth Wakefield. The garden, known as The Hepworth Riverside Gallery Garden, will be created by leading designer Tom Stuart-Smith and part funded by a £100,000 grant from the G & K Boyes Charitable Trust.

Early flowering trees and plants, including Japanese flowering cherry, magnolia species, snowdrops and hellebores, will be followed by complex meadow planting that will burst into full colour in the summer months. Late flowering asters and anemones together with trees such as Cornus kousa that turn deep red and orange will maintain colour throughout the autumn, and sculptural plants such as alliums and exotic grasses will create drama in the winter. It will incorporate well known plants with much rarer species; have a number of sites for outdoor sculptures and small lawned areas and seating on which people can relax.

Simon Wallis, director of The Hepworth Wakefield, said it was their goal to create one of the largest free public gardens in the UK. ‘There is nothing like it near Wakefield and it will not only enhance the experience of visiting the gallery and playground but also create a world-class green space in the heart of the city for the benefit of local residents.’

In March this year, The Hepworth Wakefield was granted planning permission to develop the 4,000 square metre site (around one acre) into an ambitious garden that will link the Sir David Chipperfield-designed gallery to the existing playground and soon-to-be-renovated Victorian mill complex with which it shares the waterfront site.

The garden funding adds to the £250,000 awarded by the Garfield Weston Foundation, generous contributions from a number of private individuals, and half of the prize money won by The Hepworth Wakefield when it was named Art Fund Museum of the Year 2017. To date, the gallery has raised 40 per cent of the total funds needed before work can begin on the garden.

Sir Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said he hugely admired the ambition of The Hepworth Wakefield. He added: ‘In its first seven years (the gallery) has welcomed two million visitors, secured a fantastic international reputation, won Art Fund Museum of the Year 2017 and is shortlisted for Large Visitor Attraction 2018 in the White Rose Awards.

‘That it is now undertaking to transform its wider site shows that, despite its success, this is not a gallery that rests on its laurels. The Hepworth Riverside Gallery Garden will be a very exciting new visitor attraction for Wakefield which I am sure will draw people into Yorkshire from far and wide.

‘It is fantastic that the project has already attracted such significant support and I wish them all the best with completing the fundraising campaign.’

For more information go to

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