Leon KlugeGardening World Cup in Japan, 2012

The Gardening World Cup is is held annually in Nagasaki, Japan, and the theme for this year is World Peace – also a stark reminder of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that happened back in March 2011.

Leon Kluge & David Davidson’s 2011 Sth African entry

The Gardening World Cup is now running for the third year and countries that will be competing for the cup in the 2012 competition are UK, Italy, Spain, USA, France, New Zealand, South Africa, Japan (3 gardens), South Korea and Malaysia.

The winner in 2010 was The Netherlands and the 2011 winner was Australia. The peace garden, built and designed by the brilliant (and one of my personal gardening icons) Australian designer Jim Fogarty, was called ‘Bushfire’ depicting the devastating bushfires that swept through Australia that year.

Jim Fogarty’s garden ‘Bushfire’ 2011 winner

David Davidson‘s and my design for this year is called Hortus Consensus (a play on the Hortus Conclusus or enclosed garden)  OR  ‘The Watershed Garden

Drawn from the South African experience of reconciliation and nation-building since the advent of democracy, is the process of structuring a national identity that fosters social harmony (peace) and prosperity through the unification of its people. The landscape undergoes a metamorphosis that results in a mutually beneficial transformation.

South Africa’s 2012 Gardening World Cup entry

The dividing wall through the garden represents the line between the past and the present. The natural hillside garden represents pre-exisiting instability and chaos, while the more formal new garden represents order and consensus. The diversity of colour and texture found here symbolizes a productive, multicultural society.

The focal point of the garden is the place of habitation – the homestead or kraal [a traditional African village of huts, typically enclosed by a fence]. At its heart is the amphitheatre or common ground – representing conciliation  – that is the place where matters are discussed, resolved and solutions are found [ch?tei – ‘hall of audience’ in Japan; kgotla – a traditional public meeting, where community decisions are arrived at by consensus in Africa].

Water symbolises life and a new beginning. A watershed can be both a catchment area drained by a river, or another body of water and an event marking a turning point in the course of history. Water falls from the crest of the hill (watershed) into the ‘new’ garden, as lifegiving rain. Access to the central garden follows a carefully trodden path across exposed stepping stones.

‘Chaos in the world brings uneasiness, but it also allows the opportunity for creativity and growth’ Tom Barrett

South Korea – Jihae Hwang’s 2012 design

Being part of international shows is such a fantastic opportunity, to be able to work closely with and get to know some of the worlds best garden designers; chatting about the industry from each different country’s perspectives, the new trends, and just making new friends.

The show will open to the public on the 29th of September 2012. And this year it promises to be a show of note, with a lot of new designers to the show, and all of them excellent! I can’t wait to see the garden from Jihae Hwang from South Korea. She got a gold medal at Chelsea this year for her mind-blowing garden showing the no-mans land between North and South Korea.

Japan – Ishihara Kazuyuki’s 2012 design

Another exciting garden to look out for in the show will be from the world renound Japanese moss garden designer Ishihara Kazuyuki. He creates gardens that takes you back to a fantasy world somewhere deep inside a fairy tale – he also got a gold medal at Chelsea this year.


Italy – Jo Thompson’s 2012 design


Also to watch out for is the design from Jo Thompson representing Italy. She won a siver medal at Chelsea this year, and she will be the one keeping the party going – an amazing person, and a brilliant designer!

Will keep you all up to date with the happenings and the final show gardens as it unfolds in Japan.


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Leon Kluge

About Leon Kluge

Leon Kluge is an award-winning landscape designer who was part of the successful South African team at Chelsea in both 2010 and 2012, and the Gardening World Cup in Japan in 2011, and then won a Gold medal at the 2013 Cup. Leon is known for his modern, contemporary landscapes, sustainable community projects and his specialisation in vertical gardens. His company Leon Kluge Landscape Design is based in north-eastern South Africa.

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