Gavin Haines was at Floriade in the Netherlands, a once-in-a-decade horticulture expo that's like the Chelsea Flower Show, only bigger, quirkier, and more solutions-focused. This year's theme is 'growing green cities,' which the organizers of the seven-month jamboree in Almere truly want to show the world how. With Europe sizzling in a heatwave, the timing is pertinent. 

The Dutch are uniquely capable when it comes to offering advice about constructing adaptable cities, having moved the sea to build theirs, using an elaborate system of dykes and pumps to keep the tide at bay. This expertise will only become more valuable as sea levels rise.

In fact, Floriade itself is located on what used to be the seabed but is now one of the largest land reclamation projects in the world. A local saying immodestly sums up the achievement: "God made the world, but the Dutch made the Netherlands."

Spread over sixty hectares, with a cable car shuttling visitors overhead, the site is carved into 192 plots, each one showcasing ideas and innovations that could help make our cities greener and more liveable. Or, at the very least, prettier. 

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