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Garden fertilised by Twitter output wins Gold at Chelsea

Larger than the hashtag of my aunt

A garden conceived by an alliance of trick-cyclists, architects and professors of "social computing" - and enabled by the wondrous power of Twitter - has won a gold medal at the Chelsea Flower Show.

This is how the garden goes:

The garden is divided diagonally by an autonomous-panelled screen which separates the planting of two distinct zones.

A tapestry of familiar plants and foliage then greets visitors, with the partially obscured exotic planting behind the partition providing a dramatic contrast. The panelled screen responds in real-time to the "buzz" of excitement about RHS Chelsea Flower Show, as measured by activity on Twitter using the #rhschelsea tag, with the inner depths of the garden only being seen when public excitement is at its peaks.

The judges have awarded the little plot, fertilised by the digital manure rained upon it by excited Tweeters, a Gold medal in the Fresh Garden: Scape Design category.

The digi-garden was designed by academics from the architecture, psychology and computer science (specifically "social computing") departments at Lincoln uni. The actual plant-y bits were delivered by flower-arranging and design startup Harfleet and Harfleet, who confess to being social media obsessives.

“One of the things we’re trying to do through our research is to understand how digital media can be made to meaningfully intersect with the physical world," explains Shaun Lawson, Professor of Social Computing at Lincoln.

"The garden is an opportunity to explore aspects of how we can interweave social media data with real space, as well as how it is possible to make sense of this data by creating thought-provoking visualisations. When people tweet, the screen activates by opening various panels and permitting selected views of the ‘concealed’ garden. The planting inside represents the exotic or unknown immaterial world of the internet, moderated and revealed by our desire for knowledge and interaction.”

Those wishing to find out more about the walled Twitter garden can do so here. ®

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