China challenge for designers

Weddle Landscape Design is completing the interior planting design for a pavilion at an international horticultural exhibition next year in Qingdao, which will be the first low energy glasshouse in China.
Weddle Landscape Design is completing the interior planting design for a pavilion at an international horticultural exhibition next year in Qingdao, which will be the first low energy glasshouse in China.

A SHEFFIELD company that designed the horticultural content of the Winter Garden has transplanted its ideas into one of the biggest display glasshouses in the world.

Weddle Landscape Design is completing the interior planting design for a pavilion at an international horticultural exhibition next year in Qingdao, which will be the first low energy glasshouse in China.

The pavilion in North China will be five times bigger than the Winter Garden, with 3,000 varieties of plants from around the world. Company principal Mike Browell said they would be using lessons learned in Sheffield. “We know what the problems are going to be and how to solve them.”

He added: “I’m passionate about plants and their ability to delight, inspire and educate. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to create a world class glasshouse display.

“Some visitors to the Expo will be expert horticulturalists with a good understanding about worldwide plants and many others will just be thrilled to see strange plants from Australia and South Africa alongside those from Chile and California. There will be something to excite everyone.”

Work in China over the past four years has allowed the Nether Edge-based company, which has been in Sheffield since 1968, to expand to nine staff.

“We have dodged the recession in the construction industry by getting on our bikes and going to where business is booming,” said Mike.

They are currently involved in several developments in China which will provide more than 10,000 apartments. “There are more than one million new millionaires in China and they can afford the best in the world. An elegant European garden is what many of them aspire to.”

One of the jobs is to design the green spaces for a city that is going to grow from the size of Bakewell to the combined size of Sheffield and Rotherham over the next 20 years.