Monday, 16 March 2015

Spode Rose Garden - Stage Two gets underway

After a short hiatus at the Spode Rose Garden, we returned this month to start on Stage Two ahead of this September's British Ceramics Biennial.

Since 2013, and the identification of the Spode China Rose, Gareth Fryer has been growing the Rose on and in December we took the first 10 of the plants to send to the kind donors of the original crowdfunding campaign.

Excitingly, this week Gareth supplied us with the remaining 60 plants which will populate not only the Spode Rose Garden, but also several other greenspace projects AirSpace has coming up.

Stage Two of the Spode Rose Garden sees us select a new portion of the garden to focus our attention. Overlooked by the historic and iconic Spode branding, we have selected a rectangular section stretching from the front railings to the China hall wall.

Initially, we pruned some overgrown Winter Jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum) and cleared away some errant brambles, and accumulated mud and moss, exposing a sizeable flower bed, in which we introduced some ornamental grasses along with 5 Spode china Roses.

We cleared a section of the flower bed in front of the outer railings, which had been engulfed by overgrown grasses and ploughed the thick claggy but nutrient rich clay soil.

And we constructed the centrepiece - a bespoke new circular flower bed to complement the one we built in 2013. This time, instead of Spode brickware, we designed a gabion-style structure, with strong mesh encasing a hoard of rescued biscuit-ware from the Spode site. The result is a structure  made of old unused and unpurposed, broken and battered ceramica, which appears to be rising from the earth and housing in its middle five Spode China Roses. At once a symbol of the history of Spode and the City's ceramic past and an emblem of its bright future.

There is much still to be done on site before the BCB opens its doors for its next instalment in September. Lots of hard landscaping, brushing scraping and clearing to spruce up this section to a gleaming condition. But the early signs are that it will look great.

The next step is to introduce some companion planting for the newly introduced Spode China Roses. We are in the research stage for this, but early reading suggests non-aggressive groundcovers for covering up the bare lower stems of hybrid teas, such as Alyssum, Lobelia, Lantana, Petunias. Pest control plants such as Marigolds, Geraniums, Basil, and Mint and for attractiveness in the space, Echinacea, Alchemilla, Salvia and Lavendula.

To fund the companion planting, AirSpace Gallery are offering for sale 10 Spode China Roses. Currently there are only 10 others in private ownership and so for the great price of £35.00 you could get a really rare Rose of your own, plus a piece of future Spode history and help us reinvigorate and reanimate a beautiful but neglected City Space. 

Click here to buy your Spode China Rose.

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