New concept shop brings art of aquascaping to Norwich
Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk
There is something fishy going on in the Norwich Lanes as a new concept "underwater gardening" store is coming to the city.
Scaped Nature, located at 60 St Giles Street in the former home of The Gallery Norfolk, opens on Saturday and sells natural aquariums and terraniums, which are plants in glass containers.
The shop is owned by husband and wife duo Ray and Gill McCune, who moved to Norwich from Northern Ireland in 2006, and have now turned their hobby into a business.
Mr McCune, who previously worked in business development, said: “I left my job a few years ago to be a full time dad for my son and I set up a fish tank for him and that was when I first discovered aquascaping and fell in love with it.
“Aquascaping is about creating a natural underwater environment combining aquatic plants with rocks and wood to create a scene from nature that is good for the fish and also has a real aesthetic appeal and is good for wellbeing - underwater gardening is a simple way of putting it.
“Most people think of fish tanks with neon gravel and plastic castles but it is all about keeping it natural and creating a mini ecosystem.”
The practice was first introduced in Japan in the 1990s by Takashi Amano who was a professional photographer and pioneered the concept of the nature aquarium.
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Whilst it is a challenging time in retail, Mr McCune wanted to open a shop as he wanted to introduce aquascaping to a new audience.
He added: “I thought about getting an industrial unit and selling online but I wanted to bring it onto the high street and expose it to people that have never seen it before.
“We also have a play tank where people can handle the materials and start to see how their own underwater landscape could look.”
Ray and Gill, who is a women’s health therapist, have created all the tanks and terraniums themselves and the shop also offers moss art, fertilisers and tools.
Scaped Nature is open Saturdays 10am to 6pm, Sundays 10am to 4pm, Wednesday to Friday 11am to 6pm and is closed Mondays and Tuesdays.