Bristol Theatre News

Bristol Gardeners Bring to Life New Displays Aboard SS Great Britain

SS Great Britain launches new Wardian displays with help from Bristol Gardeners

Volunteers from Redcatch Community Garden have teamed up with Brunel’s SS Great Britain for a brand new exhibition on the much-loved ship.

Working with award-winning garden designer Jane Porter, the gardeners worked together to bring to life one of six Wardian cases of ornamental flowers. The new carefully tended display was placed in position on the weather deck of the SS Great Britain this week.

Wardian cases were mini glass houses used in 1833 to transport living plants on the deck of ships travelling across oceans.

The finished display showcases species which would have travelled from Liverpool to Melbourne on the SS Great Britain between 1859 and 1875.

Chief Executive Officer at Redcatch Community Garden, Kate Swain said: “We are delighted to be involved in such an exciting project, bringing the botanical history of the SS Great Britain into the community. The project has provided opportunities for learning, creativity, and a connection to the ship and her amazing botanic past for over 200 primary school children and attendees to our Gardening for Wellbeing sessions. We have worked with the SS Great Britain team to specify and create a Wardian case which offers a fascinating glimpse into the botanical world of the past and why they are so important today.”

The project brought together support from Redcatch Community Garden in Knowle, Riverside Garden Centre, Heart of Heart of BS13 at Hartcliffe Flower Farm with Jane Porter, making it a proper Bristolian project.

More displays will be added to the ship in the coming months, which are hoped to include botanicals, orchids and brambles.

Tickets for Plants Crossing Continents are available to buy online, included as part of a day out at Brunel’s SS Great Britain:

You can find out more about Redcatch Community Garden here:

Photos: @JonCraig_Photos
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