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Joe Perkins’ The Meta Garden unveiled after rehoming to the heart of the National Forest

We’re delighted to announce that Joe Perkins' award-winning garden from RHS Chelsea, titled The Meta Garden: Growing the Future has been officially unveiled today at Conkers Discovery Centre, at the heart of the National Forest.

29 Jul 2022

The design highlights mycelium, the crucial relationship between soil, fungi and plants, which together form the basis of resilient forest ecosystems, and has been specially redesigned to fit the larger space at Conkers and the surrounding woodland.

The garden reflects the many communities and partnerships that have come together over the last 30 years to help create the National Forest, the volunteers who have helped Joe’s team recreate the garden at Conkers and who will look after it in the future, and also the many community woodland groups in the Forest who use Meta’s social platforms to help manage their voluntary work.

The Meta Garden is all about championing natural solutions to climate change and how we can both create more and protect our wonderful British woodlands. By reusing the garden and making it part of the Conkers experience, more people will be able to see the garden here at its new home in the National Forest.

John Everitt, Chief Executive of the National Forest, said: “This is a forest of people, as much as trees, and is a forest for everyone. We are stronger growing together, as an entity, like the forest itself and the unseen mycelium that underpins its biodiversity. The networks of the National Forest are strong, and are essential to the changes we have seen over the past 30 years working with partners to create the Forest. We believe in the power of trees to transform people’s lives and the landscape, and are excited to see Joe Perkins’ Meta garden relocated to the Forest. Many more people will be able to see it here and enjoy his interpretation of our interdependence through a forest-inspired garden.”

The garden highlights the benefits of increasing the UK’s tree coverage to combat climate change. The National Forest has increased forest cover throughout its 200 square miles from 6% to 22% with the planting of 9 million trees and, importantly 85% of woodlands in the National Forest are in active management, which encourages good biodiversity and helps mitigate against climate change.

Joe Perkins said: “I hope visitors to the garden will feel immersed in and inspired by nature’s interconnectedness and the myriad of macro and microscopic networks in nature that depend on each other to heal, grow, and thrive. There is an urgent need to redress the balance of our relationship with the natural world, and there is so much to learn from the connections in nature, both in terms of how we learn to support and preserve sustainable forest ecosystems, and in how we come together as communities - in-person and on platforms like Facebook and Instagram - to tackle climate change.”

Joe added: “The best bit is that the garden now has a permanent home, here in the National Forest, and that it’s open to people here, can help strengthen communities and gives children a chance to interact with nature.”

The garden has been unveiled this afternoon as part of an event attended by the trustees and guests of the National Forest Company, with the garden open to all visitors to enjoy from this weekend. If you would like to visit the garden, you can purchase tickets for Conkers here.  

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