Inspiring new 'dry garden' in Stroud showcases eco-friendly planting

As temperatures rise, it's more important than ever to create gardens that can withstand the heat and require less watering — with an innovative community project in Stonehouse showing just what can be done with creative and colourful planting.

By Emma Luther  |  Published
By carefully selecting a collection of drought-tolerant and drought-resistant flora, Stonehouse's new 'dry garden' showcases ways to battle climate change in the garden.

A new ‘dry garden’ has been planted in Stonehouse, near Stroud, as part of a sustainable initiative to help reduce water usage this summer — with the biodiverse project also entered into a national RHS Britain in Bloom competition.

Stonehouse Court Hotel teamed up with volunteers from Sartorius Stedim Lab Ltd and members of the Stonehouse in Bloom team to create the innovative gardening project outside Stonehouse Town Hall. 

By carefully selecting and planting a collection of drought-tolerant and drought-resistant flora, Stonehouse Court Hotel's gardening team, along with six Sartorius volunteers and members of Stonehouse in Bloom, created the unique green space to promote sustainability in the town. 

With climate change pushing UK temperatures up, flowers and plants need more watering to avoid wilting, so Stonehouse Town Council is seeking sustainable ways to keep the whole town in bloom during summer heatwaves. 

The ‘dry garden’ ensures green spaces stay healthy this summer, as well as acting as an inspiration for green-fingered residents for their own personal gardens.

General manager of Stonehouse Court Hotel, Maz Jurko, said: 'The idea for the garden came from the 'climate change kingfisher', a sculpture which formed part of the Cotswold Art Trail that ran in the summer of 2021 to encourage people to get out again after Covid lockdowns. 

'We wanted to display the kingfisher in a meaningful context in the town. This got us thinking about how we could incorporate it into a green space that demonstrates how we can choose plants that can cope with the changing climate, and which do not require additional watering to survive. From this, the idea of a ‘dry garden’ was born. 

'Volunteers from Sartorius helped to prepare the bed and dig in gravel, before the Stonehouse in Bloom volunteers placed rocks at intervals down the bed to provide structure. Our gardening team did a magnificent job of selecting and planting a beautiful collection of plants that are suited to high heat and little amounts of water. We’re absolutely delighted with the result.'

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), which runs the Britain in Bloom competition, is the UK’s leading gardening charity, which aims to enrich people’s lives through plants.

Since its inception in 2015, Stonehouse in Bloom has won gold in the RHS Heart of England in Bloom regional competition six times, and Best Small Town three times.

Judges have already visited Stonehouse to inspect the display, with winners of each category due to be announced at an awards ceremony this autumn 2023. 

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