Garden centre sets up innovation garden to encourage climate-adaptive gardening
In June 2019, the Intratuin garden centre in Lochem set up its own climate-adaptive garden. This shows customers a range of solutions to adapt their gardens to the changing climate. The garden was designed by Gert-Jan Holtkamp of Intratuin Lochem, in collaboration with several suppliers and colleagues.
How did the idea occur?
The idea of the climate-adaptive garden occurred during the construction of the Deventer Intratuin branch in 2018. During the construction, the owner of the premises came to talk with the municipality of Deventer, which is actively engaged in climate adaptation. The enthusiasm that this conversation kindled in the owner inspired the idea of a climate-adaptive garden. He requested Gert-Jan Holtkamp to elaborate the idea in detail. Gert-Jan is the head of the garden design studio for the Intratuin branches in Lochem, Deventer, Almelo, and Apeldoorn.
What does the climate-adaptive garden look like?
The garden measures 20 x 30 m2 and the solutions it encompasses are all operational. In addition to such energy-efficient solutions as solar panels and a solar energy system, the garden features nearly 50 climate-adaptive solutions. Examples:
- porous and water-permeable pavements such as Drainbase tiles, to buffer water;
- a RainBlock rainwater fence incorporating crates to collect rainwater;
- a rainwater pond with a range of water plants that allows water to infiltrate into the ground underneath the tiles;
- green rooftops;
- infiltration crates;
- rainwater storage tanks for various uses;
- irrigation systems;
- perennials via GreentoColour.
What is the purpose of the garden?
This innovation garden is intended to promote climate-adaptive gardening. Gert-Jan Holtkamp calls this “the new water-friendly gardening”. A climate-adaptive garden provides better preparation for the increasingly frequent dry and wet periods. Furthermore, the garden offers a good alternative during warm and dry summers, for example, when pumping up groundwater is prohibited.
How do people react?
Customers take a highly positive view of the solutions presented in the garden. The over-50s show particular interest in this garden concept. When meeting with customers, the design studio team inquires right away whether they are interested in water storage solutions. They take the customers on a tour of the innovation garden in order to show all the options. A mobile phone app enables customers to operate all the systems in the garden, e.g., choose between several irrigation methods, and to control the solar energy system.
Has the garden already produced actual results?
The customers opting for climate-adaptive gardens tend to be owners of newly built houses. Suppliers have noticed that they sell more climate-adaptive solutions. Together with the Wildkamp supplier, Intratuin has set up Rawinso: a unique business concept for water-friendly garden solutions. Rawinso provides tailored advice to private residents, businesses, and municipalities. Meanwhile, the company has fully disconnected two houses from the sewer system.
Are other parties involved?
Gert-Jan Holtkamp has set up the climate-adaptive garden based on his own views and with the support of his standard circle of suppliers and colleagues. In addition, he keeps in touch with several municipalities and district water boards. For example, he has organised the March Climate Days in collaboration with a number of municipalities, district water boards, and suppliers. The first meeting in Apeldoorn was a great success. Unfortunately, the other meetings were cancelled on account of corona virus. However, the initiators plan to organise the meetings again in 2021, because they enthused all those involved.
Is there a corresponding campaign?
Some municipalities have linked a rain barrel campaign to the Climate Days. Customers qualify for municipal grants upon purchasing a rain barrel. Of course, such a campaign is wonderful and could be extended to include green rooftops or other climate-adaptive solutions. A complicating factor as yet is that the rain barrel campaign differs from one municipality to the next. For example, customers from Almelo or Lochem qualify for grants, whereas customers from Zutphen or Enschede do not. It would be nice if all the municipalities in the region would collectively launch the same campaign. The meetings with the municipalities and district water boards regarding the March Climate Days have already gone in that direction.
Lessons to be learned
Continue to inform customers about what they can do to adapt their gardens to the changing climate. Many people are unaware of the many possibilities. Furthermore, collaboration with other parties in your vicinity is very important, as is remaining loyal to your regular circle of suppliers. Together you accomplish so much more!