A lesson from a Caterpillar

In 2015 the Caterpillar from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was brought to life once again as an InstaPlant® display at RHS Garden, Wisley for their summer celebration
of the 150th anniversary of the well-loved Lewis Carroll creation Alice’s Adventures
in Wonderland…


One of the strangest acquaintances that Alice makes during her adventures in wonderland is a blue, 3 inch tall Caterpillar, sat upon a mushroom smoking a pipe. Initially Alice doesn’t take to the Caterpillar with his stand-offish nature, but she does eventually warm to him with her remarking that he will one day turn into a butterfly, which of course he does. But in 2016 he also turned into one of our 3D InstaPlants. We were commissioned by RHS Garden, Wisley to bring the Caterpillar to life once again in a 3D replica of the traditional illustration originally drawn by John Tenniel.

In early spring we set to work on the initial framework design in steel which was then fabricated off-site by a local company. When the framework was ready, our team of experienced workers fitted an intricate internal irrigation system before planting up the structure guided by our design specifications.

A specific type of blocking compost was required to fill the structure; a very traditional method that spans back to Victorian times. Using approximately 3000 carpet bedding plants, that’s approximately 400 plants per square metre, of Alternanthera, Echeveria and Sedums producing a magnificent display. Standing 2.3 metres tall and weighing 1.5 tonnes the InstaPlant® team worked on the structure, taking great pride in every stage of the build to ensure that the final product was just right. We finally added some extra finishing touches such as the caterpillar’s face, then the display remained in the nursery for six weeks where we grew and maintained it until it was ready to send out to the customer.

The 3-D sculpture of the caterpillar relaxing on a mushroom welcomed visitors to RHS Garden, Wisley as part of the top terrace bedding scheme inspired by Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland created by Wisley’s second-year horticulture diploma students.

Matthew Pottage, Acting Curator at RHS Garden, Wisley said that the caterpillar had been “a real hit over the summer.” We of course will be looking forward to working with RHS Garden, Wisley on future projects with more InstaPlant® creations.

One of the beauties of this particular product is that they can be replanted time and time again and used for year-on-year displays.  In fact, these kinds of structures are often returned to us for a complete make-over and recycled for new events, often reappearing from our glasshouses as a completely different looking product.

All of the plants that were used in making this structure can be found on the colour palette page of our website. The display is expected to last until the first frost of winter.

….You imagine it, we design it, plant it, deliver it, you enjoy it!


For further information on InstaPlant® products please contact us on 01579 352802, see our website www.instaplant.co.uk or email instaplant@kernock.co.uk.