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'Beyond Our Borders' at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2015

27 January 2015

The 2015 RHS Chelsea garden 'Beyond our borders' will highlight how sentinel trees are being used to detect plant pest and disease threats across the world through the International Plant Sentinel Network (IPSN). Included in the fresh gardens category, the garden has been commissioned by the UK's Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), working closely with BGCI, and created by the award winning designer Sarah Eberle

'Beyond our Borders' shows how plant species growing outside of their natural ranges can act as sentinels to provide an early warning system for new and emerging plant pests and diseases. By monitoring sentinel plants in botanic gardens and arboreta for damage by organisms native to that country the IPSN can provide key information to plant health, including: 

  •     identifying potential threats to a country's native plant species before they are introduced
  •     improving the chances of eradication or control programmes
  •     stopping the introduction of threats to plant health through quarantine lists

The garden (as below) uses British trees to epitomise ‘early warning’ sentinels throughout the world. The garden will be an eye-catching and innovative display featuring three different and distinct climatic zones (Australasia, Arid and Tropical) separated by pools of water representing oceans. Each zone will contain a single iconic UK native tree standing among plants native to each climate. Set within the plants of each zone are coloured springs representing plant pest and diseases. These appear to emerge and disappear and some are stretched to create a wave motion over the top of each ocean. This represents the movement of plant pests and diseases within and between each zone, reflecting the threat to plant health.

The garden is funded by DEFRA whose top priorities include the safeguarding of plants from pests and diseases. Decisive action is being taken to help protect against the introduction and spread of plant pests and diseases. This design depicts one way in which governments are working internationally to protect our environment against alien pest and diseases.

'Beyond our Borders' design 

Sponsors of the 'Beyond our Borders' garden include DEFRA, the Shanghai Botanical Garden, Horticultural Trades Association and the Scottish Government. For more information please click here

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