One of the Fresh gardens at the prestigious RHS Chelsea Flower Show this year was the City of London Oak Processionary Moth Garden, designed by Society of Garden Designers member Helen Elks-Smith and built by Wycliffe Landscapes. This garden aims to raise awareness of OPM, and the distress it can cause humans as well as the environment – particularly the oak trees that the caterpillars call their home.
In this garden, a stand of oak trees is shrouded by bespoke textiles. The oak trees are shrouded in fabric to symbolise disease and death. The whole design was a play on the idea of the cocoons and the pupal casing made by the moth caterpillars.
It’s great that this subject is being raised at the greatest horticultural show on the planet. The public needs to know about the threat that Oak Processionary Moth carries. Not only can they decimate the trees of the UK after the changing climate has meant that the moths have made it to the UK from the south of Europe, but they may also cause human irritant – the fine hairs on the caterpillars can cause a rash and, when the hairs are airborne, can cause respiratory problems including Asthma.
Below are pictures of the garden designed by Helen Elks-Smith.