When you enter an enclosed garden, you immediately feel you are in a protected space. This can be therapeutic and an important aspect of recovery because when you feel safe, you can let go and become yourself, let your defences down and become open to new experiences. This is an important part of healing.
From the front of the garden, we see a beautifully crafted open wooden gate and through this, we get our first view of what lies inside. In various places along its length, the hedge has narrow openings which offer different angles from which to see glimpses of the lush planting. Inside, the garden landscaping is all made from a single material – basalt based concrete. Seeking a resourceful way to explore a single mass of concrete, Darren’s design takes a single cuboid and from that extrudes all the garden elements, benches, paving, gravel and stairs. With all the contents emptied, the box is split and two garden “rooms” are left. Surrounding this is a soft and scented planting scheme. Under the canopy of a huge Amelanchier nestle Hosta, Rodgersia, Aruncus and Camassia while in the sunshine are Peonies, Roses, Box and Elder and Thalictrum.
One of the most difficult moments for someone coming to Maggie’s for the first time is crossing the threshold. Unsure of what to expect, often having to deal with a new reality of living with cancer, crossing the threshold can feel daunting. The way in which a garden reaches out to a new visitor, inviting them in, is therefore crucial. How can that entrance be made more enticing?
Darren’s immediate response is to create a space that is secluded. A garden that is hidden and as a result, a space that creates sanctuary for those within but with a way that can be viewed within. Achieving this at the Chelsea Flower Show where tens of thousands of viewer’s queue to see the garden needed inspired thinking. The design allows public access from the back of the garden turning the traditional viewing spot by 180 degrees to offer a new perspective.
Click here to view the plant list overview
Click here to view the full plant list