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Kent Landscaper Twig wins gold at world’s largest flower show

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Press Release 05/07/2011

Kipling Garden Tribute to all those fighting for their country

In their first ever show at Hampton Court Palace, designer Heather Appleton and the Kent landscaping group, Twig, are thrilled to have won a gold award. Their Kipling Garden in the new English Poet’s Garden category takes as its inspiration the poem, “My boy Jack,” ** written by Rudyard Kipling in 1916.

The 8m x 6m Kipling Garden, with overhead sails, waves of grasses and soaring, sculpted birds, narrates a mother and father’s search for news of their 18-year-old son Jack, lost in action during World War 1 in France. The father, Rudyard Kipling, tracks down soldiers, asking: “Have you seen my boy Jack?”

The garden incorporates a boardwalk of railway sleepers to represent his long search; bay laurel blocks rise like tombstones amid the grasses that symbolise the sea, while native Fastigiate Hornbeams (Carpinus betulus fastigiata) stand as sentries along your path through this garden of quiet contemplation. There are also rocks for resting upon, while red, white and blue flowers provide patriotic splashes.

Heather Appleton said she was absolutely delighted with the gold medal. “Winning gold at our first time at Hampton Court goes deeper than just being an accolade for me and the team,” she says. “The story of Rudyard Kipling searching for his teenage son is so poignant – and moved me to create this garden of quiet contemplation, of remembrance and of peace. Winning gold is a tribute to all those brave sons and daughters who fight for their country. “

Kipling became the first literary advisor to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission whose work has given comfort to generations of households that have lost family members in warfare. Heather Appleton says: “In celebration of their work the planting has a colour scheme that evokes unity and pride that supercedes politics and loss.”

This is the Twig Group’s second medal-winning collaboration with Heather Appleton; their first project together was at RHS Chelsea in May and won a silver medal – not bad for a company and a designer each making their debut at the prestigious Chelsea Flower Show. That garden – called the Chilstone Garden – was remarkable for its bright turquoise outdoor carpet, everlasting ice sculpture and stone temple. It was adopted by a Chelsea Pensioner, an accolade that resonated strongly with both Twig managing director David Eyre and Heather Appleton. “At Chelsea and now at Hampton Court Palace there really does seem to be a patriotic sub-text, which links 20th Century war history to today,” says David Eyre.
The poem “My Boy Jack”

“Have you news of my boy Jack?”
Not this tide.
“When d’you think that he’ll come back?”
Not with this wind blowing, and this tide.

“Has any one else had word of him?”
Not this tide.
For what is sunk will hardly swim,
Not with this wind blowing, and this tide.

“Oh, dear, what comfort can I find?”
None this tide,
Nor any tide,
Except he did not shame his kind —
Not even with that wind blowing, and that tide.

Then hold your head up all the more,
This tide,
And every tide;
Because he was the son you bore,
And gave to that wind blowing and that tide!