Gardeners World Sparkles in the Summer Sun
The opening day of the annual Gardeners World Show Live at the NEC was greeted bright sunshine, a far cry from the perpetual twilight created by industrial smog that would have affronted visitors to the Midlands 150 years ago.

Whilst historians will debate the exact location and extent of “The Black Country” , The Midlands from Ironbridge in the West to Coventry in the East , Stoke to the North and Stourbridge in the south became progressively industrialised from the mid 18th century and with the increasing use of coal ( replacing wood or charcoal) from the latter part of that century what we now call the “Industrial Revolution “ really started apace.

Gardens themed to reflect the area’s industrial heritage picked up on the theme that coal reigned supreme as the prime driver during these dark times. Based largely on the innovations of Watt and Boulton static and locomotive steam engines provided the driving force for mechanisation , whilst classic “Cone” chimneys created the updraft to burn coal at temperatures required to fuse glass and fire ceramics.

Glass, formally a world class export from the Midlands, featured to sparkling effect on two of the “Beautiful Borders” feature gardens. Cheryl and Luke Sibley used an aqua – turquoise crystal manufactured locally in Stourbridge to provide a flowing stream, while designer Lisa Niemy provided a stunning under planting mulch to her with a flaming golden amber and orange cullet.

Images of the gardens are shown opposite together with the feature designed by Birmingham Metropolitan College charting the journey of coal from industrial dereliction to reclaimed leisure facility.