Neil Parish MP discusses sustainable solutions to water management

Neil Parish MP met with Devon garden designer Tom Simpson who is being supported by South West Water as he creates his first Show Garden at the prestigious Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, which runs from 3 to 8 July 2018.

The garden, which Tom designed, showcases many of the attributes of a sustainable rain garden, treating water as a precious resource and helping to reduce run-off from hard surfaces which can overload drains and cause flooding.

The design features a large raised bowl of water surrounded by curved hedging, a mini-rain garden or swale, and a swirl of flood tolerant plants, underpinned by sweeping drifts of free-draining gravel to create a permeable surface.

Tom said:  “I’m thrilled that my design has been accepted for display at such a prestigious and popular event.  The South West Water Green Garden is inspired by the recyclability of water as a precious resource.  Its fluid design aims to encourage residents and communities to think about the sustainable management of water in our gardens and the wider urban environment, helping to reduce flood risk.  Without South West Water’s support I wouldn’t have been able to realise a life-long dream so early in my career.”

After meeting Tom, Neil said: "It was fantastic to meet Tom and talk about the garden he designed in more detail. In the South West we need to think of more innovative ways to conserve water whilst also reducing flooding. Sustainable water manage in our gardens could benefit everyone in the future. It's given me something else to think about as I continue chairing the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee's inquiry into the water industry."

Alan Hyde, South West Water’s Head of Community Relations, added:  “It’s great to support home-grown talent and to showcase our Downstream Thinking initiative.  This involves working with nature to protect homes and public spaces from flooding, creating more resilient communities.

“In an age of paved patios and concrete driveways, each one of us can take a few simple steps to conserve water and protect our local environment, such as collecting water from roofs in water butts for re-use, adopting permeable paving or creating swales to store rainwater before it drains away naturally.”

The RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show is visited by 140,000 people a year, including many from the South West, and is the world’s largest annual flower show.

After the Show, The South West Water Green Garden will be recycled and relocated to Exeter to become part of a landscaped area outside the company’s head office on Rydon Lane, demonstrating the benefits of Sustainable Drainage Systems and effective rainwater management