Small, golden tractors swayed gently in the breeze like the grasses beneath them.
The scale-model tractors were the centerpiece of a John Deere garden celebrating 100 years of John Deere tractors.
The garden earned a Silver Gilt medal for design at the 2018 Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Chatsworth Flower Show, which took place in Chatsworth, England, last June.
The annual flower show is held in Derbyshire on the spectacular grounds of Chatsworth, a stately home dating back to the 16th century. There, companies and plant nurseries collaborate on exhibits that showcase innovative gardening displays that blend design and horticulture.
In addition to the garden, Deere featured an adjacent trade booth to showcase new lawn care equipment.
“The garden was fantastic, exceeding all expectations from what we had seen in the initial designs,” said Chris Wiltshire, John Deere tactical marketing manager for the U.K. “Together with the trade stand, we had a fantastic display.”
The award-winning garden stood out with a ring of 100 golden tractors. At the garden’s heart was a circular seating area within a meadow-like setting.
2018 was the first year for Deere’s appearance at RHS Chatsworth, and the company’s first time with a flower show garden. Deere is a long-standing trade stand exhibitor at RHS Chelsea Flower Show in London, one of the world’s most prestigious flower shows. Deere will return to the Chelsea Flower Show in May 2019.
Celebrating Innovation in Agriculture
The garden was designed by horticulturalist Elspeth Stockwell and artist Jo Fairfax, who approached Deere with the idea for the garden.
“John Deere’s 100 years of tractors made me think how innovation in agriculture has transformed the landscape over the last century,” Stockwell explained. “Working in collaboration with Jo Fairfax, I wanted to create a garden that depicted the rhythms and seasonality of the land.”
The planting depicted the landscape’s natural beauty through a combination of native and non-native flowering grasses and wildflowers, comprising about 2,000 individual plants. A charred-oak backdrop represents farm buildings on a pastoral landscape.
“I think one of the reasons the garden was a success was that it almost reflected Elspeth’s and my friendship,” said Fairfax. “The garden was like a visual conversation between us, and the artwork wasn’t plonked in the garden, as is often the case.”
Transplanting the Garden
During the garden’s planning, the Deere U.K. marketing team discussed how elements of the garden might later be donated to a worthwhile cause, according to Fran Steven, Deere area aftermarket manager for the U.K.
A Deere volunteer team was put in touch with Beaumond House Community Hospice in Newark, England. The Beaumond House gladly accepted the donation of portions of the garden. The charitable hospice provides care to patients with limiting or terminal illnesses at no cost to patients or their families.
A group of nine volunteers helped install elements of the John Deere garden on the hospice grounds, including a wooden wall, benches, and other portions of the design.
“When people see a garden that is well tended and cared for, it helps them have confidence that they will be well looked after and cared for,” said Debbie Abrams, chief executive, Beaumond House. “John Deere helped create that positive first impression and take some of the fear away that people have about hospice care. We can’t thank everyone enough for all they did.”
Fran Steven said the Beaumond House staff’s “kindness and appreciation of our efforts was sincerely felt by all of us, and we’re looking forward to returning one day to do some work.”
“Many people said what a tremendous difference it had made and that they had not seen the garden looking so good for many years,” Abrams added.
Celebrating 100 Years
John Deere Garden at the 2018 Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Chatsworth Flower Show and Beaumond House Hospice.