THE sights and smells of Africa came to the NEC last week and won a Solihull garden centre owner top prize at the BBC Gardener's World Live show.
Larger than life Chris Canaan from Akamba Easy Exotics in Tythe Barn Lane, scooped a prestigious gold medal, just one of four, for his show garden entitled 'The Akamba Migration'.
The former Olympic speed skater, fashion designer and even glass blower was inspired by the plight of migrating wild animals from Tanzania to Nairobi. The garden includes native planting and some incredible life-sized models of animals sculpted from junk metals.
Chris said: "The garden is three gardens in one. To the rear we have the city of Nairobi, with its
lush suburban gardens, full of ornamental planting, in the fore-ground we are representing Nairobi national park, with its arid planting and wildlife, and to the left of the plot we have the town-ship of Kitengela with its shanty housing and crop plants such as bananas, mangos, pineapples and corn.
The purpose of the garden is to highlight the plight of the migrating Wildebeest, who no longer come to the national park due to the construction of the Kitengela township."
Passionate about plants particularly hardy, exotic examples, Chris has run the nursery, based on an African village, for three years and is hoping to exhibit again at the Gardener's World Live event next year. ..SUPL: