Winalot Dog-Friendly Show Garden
I'm not a great dog-lover*, so I found it surprising that one of my favourite Hampton Court Show Gardens was specifically designed with the needs of a dog in mind.
Winalot Dog-Friendly Show Garden
The Winalot Live a Lot Dog Garden was designed so that neither gardener nor dog need compromise their enjoyment of the space. The designer, Chris Beardshaw, consulted veterinarians, dog behavioural experts and his own dog to determine the needs of a dog in the garden.
The design addressed the commonly held theory that dogs see differently than humans - less with colour and more with shape and motion.
An Unusual Garden
The resulting garden was at once beautiful, functional and interesting. The palette was limited to only a few colours, but managed to avoid the cold bachelor / corporate look which I associate with purples and yellows. Strong shapes were created by spiralling topiary bushes, spherical layered water features and the central cubic patio area.
A Dog's Life
Had the event Health & Safety regulations actually allowed a dog onto the garden, it would have enjoyed the many tunnels and nooks created especially for his entertainment. The dog had its own resting area, just like the gardener had their patio. Functional garden features, such as the sunken water tap and drain, showed that the design was as much functional as idealistic.
I was surprised to learn that the garden won a Silver Guilt award instead of the Gold I assumed it deserved. The Winalot Show Garden incorporated a novel theme, fascinating design and immaculate planting. According to one of the exhibiting staff, all bar one of the judges had voted for the garden to receive a gold medal, but all it takes is one judge's veto to bring the final award down. What a shame! I thought the only thing lacking from the garden was a dog. And that's coming from someone who doesn't even like dogs...
*(Except Taj-dog, of course.)
Daisy & Thistle...
- The plants in the dog garden were chosen in a limited pallete, acknowledging that dog's don't have a broad colour range in their vision. I loved the contrast of this big white daisy against the dusty purple thistle.
Dog Tunnels Beneath the Garden...
- The tunnels create sneaky places for the dog to enjoy. The thyme (Thymus Vulgaris) in the raised border is one of many plants in the garden which have medicinal uses - thyme can soothe a dog-cold, and even depression! This border was the most feminine area.
Gardener's Pergola Patio & Dog's Tunnel...
- The cubic wooden pergola patio at the top of the garden creates a seperate space for the gardener to enjoy. You can see the garden's many angles in this picture - the top end is highest, allowing for the dog's series of tunnels underneath.
Herb Flower Border...
- The appealing scruffiness of this border made a welcome contrast to the quite stark design throughout the rest of the garden. The dominant yellow plant, Fennel (Foeniculum Vulgare), is believed to repel fleas. The grasses create height and break up the border.
Spherical Waterfall Garden Feature...
- The water from this layered water feature then flowed through the stones and down a series of gravel channels around the garden. The water feature not only created calming background noise, but also provided a fresh water supply for the dog.
Contemporary Garden Art...
- This detail in this piece of contemporary garden art off-set the plain white walls. It created height to balance with the tall topiary trees on the opposite wall, and its colour also lifted the yellow in the borders.
Garden Path & Border...
- This view takes in the far wall. The purple-lilac border is underplanted by mint, which helps the dog's digestive system (great acknowledgement that the garden is likely to be chewed!). The clear paths make the garden easy for the gardener, whilst the dips and raised sections make it fun for the dog.