Gardens which give back are inspiring green-fingered enthusiasts visiting Webbs, Wychbold, in Worcestershire.
Head gardener Mike Rutter has transformed an area of the Riverside gardens at the award-winning horticultural centre into a prime example of a self-sufficient garden.
As well as creating a delightful show in the garden, everything planted can be eaten, from the strawberries, red currants and raspberries in the pop-up fruit cage to the nectarines growing in pots and the salad leaves, herbs and hanging baskets of tumbling tomatoes.
Visitors are showing a particularly keen interest in the living roof on top of the shed in the new garden.
Mike said, ?This small new garden is really catching the imagination of our visitors. They can see it is?manageable and really love the idea of doing something similar in their own space at home. Everything here has a purpose but still looks fantastic. It?s an outdoor room to enjoy and is packed with great things to eat. It just shows you can transform a space to give a lot back to your life.?
He added, ?The living roof on the shed is a wonderful way to create a pretty display that has great benefits visually and environmentally for a garden. It filters pollutants in the air and absorbs rain water and moisture which helps to create a better atmosphere. It also improves the quality of the water running off the roof into the garden and provides a refuge for garden wildlife.?
The shed roof contains thyme, sedum, sempervivum, cerastium, barbarea, hutchinsia, silene, arias, potentilla and Veronica planted into compost over strong ply and pond liner.
The 30ft by 18ft garden also includes a painted hen house which blends in with the surrounding fruit and vegetables and a bee hive.? Elsewhere in the gardens Webbs has introduced eight working bee hives providing hundreds of jars of exclusive Webbs honey which is sold in the store?s food hall.
The bees feed on the abundance of nectar and pollen from the gardens and?also perform a vital role in pollinating a huge variety of plants and trees throughout the local area.
Also new is the Contemplation Garden, an all weather sanctuary with scented planting to attract pollinators including bees and butterflies. Mike said, ?This garden room is constantly used by our visitors who just like to take a while to sit in the sun, rest, listen to the water feature and soak up the relaxing atmosphere. Our gardens are much admired by visitors and are always evolving to inspire them with ideas of new interests and styles as well as keeping favourite areas in tip top condition.?
The Riverside Gardens are open free to everyone. Originally designed by Chelsea Flower Show Gold Medal Winner Marigold Webb, the series of themed gardens beside the River Salwarpe incorporate thousands of plants, striking features and creative landscaping.