The Garden Route is a collective of mini-gardens, landscapes, roadside verges and roundabouts which geographically form a ring road of gateways into St Austell. The sites have been identified to welcome locals and visitors into the town with new horticulture installations including perennial wildflowers, silver birch trees and newly commissioned art sculptures. The Austell Project hopes to engage the public to reconsider the identity of the town and its sense of place in Cornwall.
7,000 square meters of specialist wildflower meadows and garden cultivar border the A391 between the Pinetum Garden junction with the A390 and the Carluddon roundabout where the road exits the clay landscape, and at other sites across the town. Plant species include Poppies, Cornflower, Corn Marigold, Purple Loosestrife and Raged Robin. Created in partnership with Cornwall Council’s Making Space for Nature team, The National Wildflower Centre at the Eden Project and Pictorial Meadows, this is the first of its kind for Cornwall.
Unseen anywhere else in the county, the mix of flora is designed specifically for St Austell to create a sustainable community of plants that support each other to offering an annual floral bloom. Find out more about the wildflower meadows here.
Planting began early in 2020 with the introduction of Magnolia, Ginkgo, Honey Locust and Cockspur Thorn trees and Hydrangeas plants at the junction of Porthpean and Duporth roads and the area joining Charlestown and Holmbush roads. These flora and fauna were especially chosen to enhance the landscape as they will offer a beautiful blaze of colour throughout the summer and into autumn. Ginkgo and Honey Locust tree’s turn a bright yellow, Cockspur Thorn’s leafs turn a deep red colour and its branches are peppered with berries as the summer season fades.
Six roundabouts on key entrance roads into the town are being re-landscaped as part of the Austell Project’s Garden Route – Treverbyn, Carclaze, Menear, and Trenowah on the A391 and the Brittania and Mount Charles roundabouts on the A390. The sites will host beautiful new horticultural installations featuring biodiverse perennial plants, signature silver birch trees, specialist ceramic art commissions and street furniture that present the town’s clay heritage. More info/dates of groundworks to follow in 2020.
Inspiration was taken from Cesar Manrique, a Spanish artist, sculptor and architect from Lanzarote. Manrique was pivotal in shaping the landscape of Lanzarote informing local planning with the design of houses, commercial spaces and road systems.
He believed that public realm spaces could be an opportunity to share a creative language as well as delivering their functional requirements. He developed a series of roundabouts on the island where he adopted a subtle language of planting that incorporated art sculptures to create a consistent ‘theme’ rooted in local culture.
Local garden designer Darren Hawkes Landscapes and Truro based Landscape Architects Mei Loci are overseeing the curation of the Garden Route, on behalf of the Austell Project.
Work has begun on landscaping the roundabouts. The Britannia roundabout has now been completed – thanks goes to Par Garden Centre who have generously donated all of the plants to this roundabout.
Mount Charles roundabout is currently being re-landscaped, due to its prime gateway position it will also play host to a ceramic artwork created by the internationally renowned local artist Jenny Bevan.
Celebrating the geology of the clay, Jenny’s work connects the roundabout to the clay pits on the ridge behind – whilst offering warm clay country welcome to visitors. Like scientific core samples taken from the earth Jenny’s ceramic column creations suggest the multitude of clays, aggregates and minerals that are present just beneath our feet. The verticality of Jenny’s art will sit brilliantly against the large pillow like yew domes, which punctuates the summer flowering meadow of the roundabouts new design.
Landscaping is due to be complete across all roundabouts by Spring 2021.
As part of the online Green and Whitegold festival in 2020 landscape designer Darren Hawkes talked about what inspires him as he develops his creative approach. View the interview in the film below.