This article was first published on Natural Paving
As part of a striking design intended to inspire young people into horticulture and landscaping, designer John Everiss has created a visually stunning entry for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2014 using Midnight Blue Limestone from Natural Paving Products (UK) Ltd.
Reach Out takes its inspiration from a community project of the same name in Darwen, Lancashire, which focuses on helping vulnerable and disadvantaged young people overcome early issues. The garden seeks to translate the journey of a young person – depicted by a large metal sculpture of a human figure – from a difficult past to a more positive future, using a dramatic clash of planting and hard landscaping elements.
Fundamental to the design are a number of stone towers, constructed using a mixture of Cumbrian slate and Natural Paving Products’ Midnight Blue natural stone, from their Premiastone range. Midnight Blue is a contemporary, sawn limestone, with veins that run throughout the varying deep blue tones.
The first three sets of stone towers each weigh 2.5 tonnes and are being pre-constructed using a metal core, with lifting points installed at the top. Starting from a height of six feet at one end of the installation, the towers gradually decrease in size as they stretch out to the far end of the garden. The composition of the towers also changes from one end to the other; incorporating more and more limestone until the final two are constructed solely from the smooth, polished stone.
“I visualised the garden as the journey from a troubled past towards a brighter future, using a water channel down the centre to physically represent this path,” John commented. “The stone columns symbolise the obstacles that must be overcome during this journey, so at the beginning they are huge, chaotic and roughly hewn, but as the garden progresses they become smaller, neater and more carefully controlled.
“At the very end of the garden, all that remains is the shape of a tower but it is completely covered with planting, representing that the obstacles have all been overcome. I’ve also chosen only to use two types of plant in the garden – rosemary and lemon thyme – as they are scented medicinal plants.”
After the show, the garden will be installed in Blackburn near the premises of the garden’s main sponsor New Ground, to provide a lasting inspiration for young people in the area.
Malcolm Gough, Business Development Director from Natural Paving Products commented: “We’re really pleased to have been involved in such a striking and interesting project. The horticulture and landscaping industries, like the rest of the construction industry, needs to attract more young talent to carry the sector forward. Anything that aims to inspire young people and encourage them to consider a career in this area is a positive move and we’re happy to show our support.”