Garden Museum

-CAVE PAVILION IN SUPPORT OF THE GARDEN MUSEUM SETS NEW RECORD AS THE FIRST RHS CHELSEA GARDEN WITH FULLY TRACEABLE PLANTS

-GARDEN PRESENTED IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE GARDEN MUSEUM

-YOUNGEST FEMALE DESIGNER SETS NEW RECORD

SOPHIE WALKER WITH PLANT HUNTERS SUE & BLEDDYN WYNN-JONES

A conceptual garden that brings the tradition of plant hunting to a new generation will set the record as the first garden of fully traceable plants at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Sophie Walker is also set to become the youngest woman ever to design at Chelsea Flower Show.

Cave Pavilion, designed by Sophie Walker, uses a perspex light-box as a walled container for plants, like a 21st century reinvention of the Wardian Case.  A single aperture cut through one wall reveals the garden within, filled and tumbling with plants, suggesting an untouched unmade place we might stumble upon in the wild or in our dreams. 

The garden explores ideas of beauty, origin and death.  The planted space is a living, breathing three-dimensional picture beyond a wall, as a painting might hang in a gallery, or a diorama in a museum.  Re-inventing traditional garden design principles, the garden itself is the ‘framed view’ and the ‘borrowed landscape’.  In the tradition of the ‘walled garden’, Cave Pavilion brings to mind the secret gardens of fairy tales.  The garden cannot be entered, it can only be explored in our imagination, like the lost Hanging Gardens of Babylon. 

Working closely with RHS President Award-winning plant hunters Sue and Bleddyn Wynn-Jones, Cave Pavilion addresses the relevance and value of plant hunting in the 21st century.  This is the first garden in RHS Chelsea history to use only wild origin plants, listing each with its own individual seed collection number, describing who collected the seed, where and when.  These rare plants are used in their natural, uncultivated form, raising ideas of exploration, discovery and imagination.  Many of the plants will not have been seen before in cultivation and this is the first time an RHS garden will unveil new plant species and a new genus.  The use of unfamiliar plants serves to confuse and disorientate our sense of familiarity. 

Many of the plants are listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature as vulnerable and endangered, but most importantly the majority remain un-assessed, illustrating the extent of research required and raising the concern that many of these plants could become extinct before conservation data has been obtained.  

There are no flowers in this garden.  In an environment such as RHS Chelsea, where high cultivation is traditionally celebrated, Sophie Walker has chosen to replace flowers with plants that reflect the natural cycle of growth, decay and regeneration.

Designer Sophie Walker said: "Cave Pavilion has a dreamy reality between what is discovered and what is imagined.  The experience is full of wonder, like looking into a kaleidoscope to discover an expanded world, or finding the surprising space that opens up when you enter a cave and your eyes become accustomed to the dark.

"I’m thrilled to be working with the Garden Museum which actively supports contemporary garden design today whilst celebrating the achievements of the great plant plant-hunters and botanists of the past.  I’m interested in bringing the tradition of plant hunting to a new generation."  

 THE GARDEN MUSEUM: The Garden Museum Director, Christopher Woodward said: “The Garden Museum is proud to sponsor Cave Pavilion, Sophie Walker’s bold and thought-provoking fusion of architecture and nature, art and environment.  Sophie’s design celebrates the work of plant-hunters Sue and Bleddyn Wynn-Jones, whose mission combines the daring exploration of the great Victorian plant-hunters with ecological and cultural awareness of the 21st century.  We are grateful to the supporter who has made this garden by such a talented young designer possible.” 

“The Garden Museum strives for a similar spirit in the design for an extension to the museum in 2015-2016, for which funds are being raised.  The inspiration for the extension project is botanist and plant-collector John Tradescant, founder of a museum which exhibited world culture and whose tomb is the centerpiece of the extension.  Such a spirit of curiosity is reflected by Cave Pavilion and the work of the Wynn-Joneses today.”

ENDS

NOTES FOR EDITORS:

SOPHIE WALKER: At 28, Sophie Walker is the youngest woman to design for Chelsea Flower Show.  In 2013 Sophie won the People’s Choice Award and a Silver-Gilt Flora medal in the Show Garden Category at RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show for A Valley Garden.  Cave Pavilion is Sophie Walker’s first design at Chelsea.  She is working on garden and landscape projects internationally. 

SUE AND BLEDDYN WYNN JONES: RHS Chelsea Flower Show President Award winners Sue and Bleddyn Wynn Jones are amongst the most important plant hunters working today. They have made over 16,000 seed collections over some 50 expeditions, providing an invaluable contribution to plant science and conservation today.  Their plant hunting focuses on rare plants that can be grown in the UK, many of which have not previously been cultivated.  They have scaled mountains and volcanoes, explored hidden canyons and dodged armed bandits (sometimes less successfully), to seek out elusive specimens.  They work closely with government agencies, Royal and Botanic Gardens and National collections across the world.

WARDIAN CASE: Invented by Dr Nathanial Ward in the 1830s, the Wardian Case was originally used to bring foreign plants safely back to Britain.  Robert Fortune first used the Wardian Case on behalf of the Horticultural Society at Chiswick in 1843.  From China, he sent back a total of 26 cases packed with hundreds of plants which have since found their way into our gardens.  With the aid of the Wardian Case, Sir William Hooker reported that he had imported six times as many plants to Kew.  This invention steered the way to the import of many hardy exotic species, changing the course of garden design in Britain and abroad. 

GARDEN MUSEUM: For more information about the launch of Phase II www.gardenmuseum,org.uk/page/phase-ii-launched 

CONTRACTOR: MARK WALLINGER LANDSCAPES 

Mark Wallinger 11 Monson Road / London / NW10 5UR markwallinger@lineone.net / +44(0)7957140279

SOPHE WALKER:

sophie@sophiewalkerstudio.com / www.sophiewalkerstudio.com / (+44) 07580985744 

SUE AND BLEDDYN WYNN JONES:

mailorder@crug-farm.co.uk / www.crug-farm.co.uk / (+44) 01248670232

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