Mary Anning Inspires Spectacular Garden Design

By |2024-01-02T20:33:49+00:00June 3rd, 2023|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Famous Figures, Main Page, Photos/Schools|0 Comments

A garden inspired by Mary Anning has won an award at the prestigious Chelsea Flower Show. The Mary Anning Space to Learn Garden created by Sandhurst Garden Design has been awarded a bronze. The award-winning container garden was designed by first-time exhibitors Julie and Andrew Haylock.

Mary Anning garden.
The award-winning Mary Anning Space to Learn Garden at the prestigious Chelsea Flower Show. A garden inspired by the pioneering palaeontologist from Lyme Regis. The carefully selected plants including specimens of plants similar to those that existed in the Mesozoic is set against a backdrop that reflects the cliffs of Lyme Regis. Picture credit: Rachel Moffett Photography.

The Mary Anning Space to Learn Garden

The Yeovil-based garden design business wanted to create a container garden that reflected the work of Mary Anning, highlighting her contribution to the science of palaeontology. The theme for the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Chelsea Flower Show is encouraging young people to get involved in gardening. The husband-and-wife design team created an outdoor learning space for primary school students to help them explore nature.

Carved wooden seats for the students and their teacher echo the fern-dominated planting of the garden. Set amongst moss-covered tree stumps planted with Jurassic effect is a replica of a plesiosaur fossil. Mary Anning discovered an almost complete fossil of a plesiosaur in 1823.

Mary Anning Garden
A replica of the skeleton of a plesiosaur can be found in the garden along with the “she sells seashells” verse. Picture credit: Rachel Moffett Photography.

Mary and her family members made several significant and highly influential fossil discoveries. Ichthyosaur remains (another type of marine reptile), were uncovered and in December 1828, the first pterosaur fossil discovery in England was made by Mary Anning.

For models and replicas of plesiosaurs, ichthyosaurs and pterosaurs visit Everything Dinosaur’s award-winning website: Everything Dinosaur.

Prehistoric Plants

A variety of plants were incorporated into the outdoor space. Ferns selected include Blechnum spicant,
Dryopteris wallichiana “Jurassic Gold”, Asplenium scolopendrium, and Asplenium trichomanes. An example of the evergreen Pseudopanax crassifolius was included along with the tree fern Dicksonia antarctica.

In addition, a Wollemia Pine specimen featured. This ancient tree lineage is thought to date back to the Early Jurassic. It was believed to be extinct, until a small group of trees was discovered in a deep gorge located in a temperate rainforest in New South Wales. Although commonly referred to as a pine, this tree is a member of the Araucariaceae and more closely related to the Araucaria (Monkey Puzzle Tree).

Mary Anning garden.
A geology hammer and a wicker basket similar to the one used by Mary Anning can be found in the garden. Picture credit: Rachel Moffett Photography.

Providing a Legacy

Stone replica ammonite shells are dotted around the garden and the large crazy paving stones are engraved by the “She Sells Seashells” tongue-twister, which is thought to have been written in honour of Mary Anning.

Having been part of the world-famous RHS Chelsea Flower Show, the garden will live on. Parts of it are being transplanted to Charmouth Primary School, close to Lyme Regis. Schoolchildren will be able to continue to enjoy elements of the garden and perhaps they may be inspired to follow in Mary’s footsteps.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“It is a beautiful garden design. We are delighted to hear that it was awarded a bronze medal. Our congratulations to all the people who helped create this inspirational garden.”

Everything Dinosaur acknowledges the assistance of a press release from the RHS in the compilation of this article.

To visit the website of the garden designers: Sandhurst Garden Design.