Wednesday, 16 February 2011

The British Heart Foundation Garden Chelsea 2011

After its debut at the RHS's London Plant and Design Show this week, I thought it time to dust down the artist's impression of our garden (more details of the brilliant Richard Lee's work can be found hereand pin it up on my blog for the world to see. And so here it is. Be gentle with me, this is nerve racking.

The garden has been inspired by many things, but has been designed to embrace and reflect the energetic work of the fabulous British Heart Foundation in their 50th year. I hope the garden catches peoples attention and does as much as it can to raise the profile of their life-changing anniversary campaign 'Mending Broken Hearts'

In the BHF's own words "At the moment, there's no cure for a broken heart. Once your heart muscle is damaged by a heart attack, it can never fully recover. But there is hope. We need to spend £50 million to fund groundbreaking research that could begin to literally 'mend broken hearts' in as little as ten years time." You'll find more information on the wonderful appeal, and ways you can support it here.

The garden, particularly its arches have been inspired by the bold, colourful work of a piece created for the Mending Broken Hearts campaign by one of its patrons, legendary artist Sir Peter Blake, an image of the structure of heart muscle created by BHF researcher Dr Patrick Hales, and last but not least the power and strength of the human heart itself. These bold arching structures will imitate the movement of veins and arteries, and though I originally envisioned these arches in powder coated steel, an email this week has set me off course. I have a meeting with a supplier tomorrow which may result in an even more eye-catching alternative - of course, you'll be the first to know.

Sir Peter Blake's Image         Dr Patrick Hale's Image

Translucent, internally lit red cell stepping stones float through the garden at ground level, traversing a pond (without water there would be no life), under the vibrant red arches which provide upward thrust to the space and frame views before ultimately leading to a 'floating' terrace at the heart of the space. Here the strands of the garden’s arches become freeform overhead, creating a sheltering structure, a break in the overhead frame providing a space to look back over the garden to contemplate, and assess one’s journey through the garden and so through life.

The garden, which is sponsored by Brewin Dolphin,  will encompass the healing properties of plants   and includes plants used in cardiology treatment, several natives, some marginals, and even some weeds, all creating a jostling foliage jamboree, with very little bloom. Almost entirely green, the textural planting is pushed into the boundaries with a vertical planted green wall system, leading the eye up to the heart shaped leaves of the mature Limes surrounding the 10m x 10m space above. All of this, I hope, will result in the red elements appearing even more rich, positive and bold as they career up, out, over and  through the plentiful, green planting. 

Essentially I hope to create a garden that celebrates life in all its forms...

In the briefest of detail, that's the overview. There's still so much to tell, several bridges to cross, and plenty of decisions to be made, but more on that later... for now, thanks for reading. Hope you like it....


  1. Thats going to be v nice isnt it, Im going to enjoy seeing it v much. Imagine if you made it ALL out of edibles'd be even betterer

  2. Looks fab - are the arches metal alla Andy Sturgeon rusty metal last year?

    I had always assumed the designers did the pics themselves so feeling happier now I know you dont!!

  3. Wow - sounds & looks brilliant. Love the idea of the healing plants and also the glowing stepping stones. Looking forward to seeing it. Good luck with it all!

  4. It looks incredible and I love the red elements-a really brave but bold and exciting idea that will look fantastic when executed. Wishing you yhe best of luck with it. Having worked just on stands in the pavillion I know how stressful it can be so creating a garden must be terrifying but if the sketch is anything to go by it will be amazing. Looking forward to further blogs and seeing how its coming along!

  5. Re: Diacono's comment, you obviously chose the limes because the young leaves can be used as a lettuce substitute? Right...?
    Looks fabulous, but I will reserve passing full judgement until the big day, of course. No pressure.

  6. Looks fantastic. Really looking forward to Chelsea now and seeing it for real.

  7. Looking really good Ann-Marie! Couldn't possibly comment on the visual lol! I'm sure the folk at BHF will be thrilled with the final result!

  8. Exciting! I love red and green in gardens, and think it will look amazing! Jamboree is a good word, and one I must use more often.

    Love Dawn's comment on the other post - Sweet Dreams! :)

  9. Wonderful blog & good post.Its really helpful for me, awaiting for more new post. Keep Blogging!

    the gardens