Iris, 8, wins Rolls-Royce Wildlife Garden competition

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars announced the winner in its competition that invited children, aged five to 11, to design new features for the Wildlife Garden at the Home of Rolls-Royce, Goodwood.

Tuesday, 22nd June 2021, 1:43 pm
Updated Tuesday, 22nd June 2021, 5:46 pm
The judges unanimously selected Tiggy Town by Iris, aged eight, as their winner. SUS-210622-133809001

Established as part of the original landscaping when the plant was built in the early 2000s, the Wildlife Garden supports a wide variety of plants, insects, birds and animals native to the South of England. The new features are central to a rejuvenation project being carried out in partnership with Chichester District Council and the South Downs National Park Trust, to reflect changes in conservation thinking and practice.

Launched in late February, the competition proved popular. From scores of entries submitted online, the judges unanimously selected Tiggy Town by Iris, age 8, as their winner.

Tiggy Town is designed to support the UK’s wild hedgehog population, which is in critical decline. Together with beautiful little hedgehog houses (each with its own address to create a real sense of home) it has features to encourage the insects and invertebrates that hedgehogs feed on. The houses have grass roofs to attract pollinators; a leaf pile, compost heap and log pile to provide shelter for all kinds of insects, as well as splendid hedgehog hibernating places. Hedgehogs can use the shallow pond both for drinking and to take a dip, with a boardwalk to help them climb out should they become tired.

Andrew Ball, head of corporate relations at Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, said: “We are delighted to announce Tiggy Town as the winner in our Wildlife Garden competition. The judges were charmed by Iris’s ideas for a space dedicated to hedgehogs, and impressed by her creativity, imagination and attention to detail. They particularly admired her research into Rolls-Royce, and the links she made between features in her garden and the motor cars we build just a short distance away. Iris is a worthy winner; her ideas will make a real difference to our Wildlife Garden, which is so important to us, our many visitors and, above all, the huge variety of nature it supports.”

Having read that the Rolls-Royce Dawn was designed with the senses in mind, Iris has included lavender, lemon balm, roses and a fragrant camomile lawn in her design. Grass, bricks and fence add texture, with the sensory experience completed by the sound of water and the smell of damp leaves.

To attract even more pollinators, Iris searched for suitable plants and was thrilled to discover a variety of hydrangea called ‘Phantom’ – perfect for a Rolls-Royce Wildlife Garden. She also chose a beautiful ‘Rosa Dawn’ rose, and included plenty of snowdrop bulbs to celebrate the Phantom Drophead.

Although Tiggy Town will be an exclusive gated community, protected by suitable fencing, Iris has specified plenty of gaps so that the hedgehogs can indulge their wanderlust whenever they choose.

Later this year Iris will be chauffeur-driven to the Home of Rolls-Royce, then perform an official opening ceremony for the rejuvenated garden, before viewing her winning feature in its new setting. She will receive a rendering of the Wildlife Garden with her suggested features in pride of place, created by the Rolls-Royce Bespoke Design Team with the same software used for designing customers’ cars. Iris and three runners-up also receive framed certificates to recognise their hard work and creativity.

Tiggy Town takes its name from The Tale of Mrs Tiggywinkle by Beatrix Potter, which tells of a little girl called Lucie who meets a kindly hedgehog washerwoman. First published in 1905 – just a year after Henry Rolls and The Hon. Charles Royce first met – this beloved British children’s classic has been in print ever since and translated into almost 30 languages.

The judges also selected three runners-up.

Ava, aged eight, based her design on her love of insects and wildlife. As well as providing food and shelter for a host of different species, including butterflies, dragonflies, damselflies, newts, moths, birds and bees, she included a picnic area with fairy lights and a seating area by the pond where visitors can sit to enjoy watching the wildlife.

Blythe, aged nine, created a design with lots of different zones to support as many different types of wildlife as possible.

Poppy, aged 10, spent three weeks developing her design, which includes a quiet zone with a large maple tree, a water zone to encourage dragonflies and frogs, a wild garden zone full of bird boxes and wild flowers, and a social zone with seating, a mocktail bar and the Rolls-Royce logo embedded in the grass.

Reflecting on the competition, Torsten Müller-Ötvös, chief executive officer of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, said: “I would like to add my congratulations to Iris on behalf of the whole company. She combines a fine artistic talent, great creativity and a detailed, thoughtful approach with a deep and obvious love of nature. Her design is delightful and will make a real difference to our Wildlife Garden. We look forward to welcoming her to the Home of Rolls-Royce soon.

“As we discovered with our Young Designer Competition during last year’s lockdown, children have extraordinary imagination and dreams. It is a real privilege to be allowed to share their ideas and insights, which can teach us so much about the world as they see it.”