The designers, horticulturalist and sponsor of ‘The Antithesis of Sarcophagi’ have been celebrating a record win at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show – where this unique garden scooped both a Gold medal and Best Fresh Garden.
Visitors to the show were stunned by The Antithesis of Sarcophagi, designed by artists and letter carvers Martin Cook and Gary Breeze. The garden featured a 44 tonne granite cube set in a barren landscape – seemingly at first sight a ‘garden’ with neither flowers or plants. Chelsea visitors queued patiently to peer through small holes in the granite cube and were treated with a view of the beautiful, regenerating woodland garden inside the cube.
The garden was planted by Chris Holland of Chris Holland Landscapes, and sponsored by The Marble & Granite Centre Ltd.
“I think we spoke to most of the 166,000 visitors to this year’s Chelsea Flower Show about the garden!” recall Martin and Gary. “One of the questions we heard most was about how we came up with the idea. It actually dates back to the ‘waste’ granite we were left with when we designed the London memorial to the victims of the Bali bombing. The granite shell left over from that project inspired us to create a garden about rejuvenation following a catastrophe or natural disaster.”
The fact that Chelsea visitors were encouraged to queue to see into the Antithesis of Sarcophagi was all part of the concept, Gary and Martin explained. “Our garden offers the lost joy of delayed gratification. In this world of instant internet access, sat navs and ready meals … we wanted to encourage people to get back to what nature means. In nature you have to wait – you plant a seed, water it, protect it and eventually it rewards you with beauty. If Chelsea visitors wanted nature’s reward, they had to wait their turn. Luckily, they all agreed that our garden was worth waiting for!”
The garden has now been made available for sale as a work of public art, and the designers and sponsor hope that it will be made accessible to an even wider audience.