Rooting for Twig at Chelsea

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Press release May 2011

Two Kent companies are working flat out in the run-up to one of the most prestigious events in the gardening calendar – the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

The landscaping firm, Twig, of Goudhurst, is building and project-managing an urban garden sponsored by Chilstone of Tunbridge Wells. Twig was selected to take on the task by the award-winning designer, Heather Appleton, to build her debut Chelsea garden.

Heather’s design for a Chelsea urban garden revives materials and ideas from the past and gives them a modern twist. She has mixed old and new, technologies and textures to create a garden that provides a cool retreat for busy people to chill out in. Heather says: “When Chilstone approached me to design their Chelsea garden I was inspired by the sound of their name – Chillstone. I used one of Chilstone’s ‘old school’ stone statues – a cherubic boy holding up a bowl, with a dog at his feet -– and had it cast in a material used in modern art. It is a crystal-clear resin to mimic ice so the statue effectively became ‘chilled stone’ – an everlasting ice sculpture. I like the contradiction in terms – a conventional figure transformed into what will be the most expensive ice bucket in the showground, the ice tumbling into the pool below.”

The sculpture is made of the same material as Italian artist Mauro Peruccetti used for his recent jelly baby art installation in London’s Marble Arch.

Additionally, the Chilstone Garden includes

  • A luxuriously soft deep-pile turquoise outdoor carpet instead of paving
  • A neo-classical stone temple, inside which hangs a retro Eero Aarnio hanging see-through bubble chair
  • Snowball shaped seats
  • An intricate pattern of winter-white plants and wild grasses

Heather says that she likes to source materials in a show garden that haven’t been seen or used before. She plumped for the crystal-clear resin after seeing an ice sculptor at work surrounded by crowds at an exhibition. “It was mesmerizing to watch and I thought that having our own ‘ice sculpture’ would create a real sense of theatre.”

She is using carpet rather than paving because of its slinky soft feel underfoot as a contrast to the stone and ice. Heather is using a bright turquoise because it fits in with the chilled theme. She says: “ I used a similar outdoor carpet at BBC Gardeners World Live in 2010 in bright purple and show visitors loved it – especially the men, for some reason!”

Heather says that all the materials in the garden have a retro feel: “shag pile” carpet, resin products, the acrylic Eero Arnio bubble chair. “Everything I use is a come-back kid – a bit like platform shoes – only I remember everything first time round.”

The Twig Group is currently in the throes of constructing the garden.
Managing director David Eyre says: “We were thrilled to have been handpicked by Heather to make her design become a reality. She is a perfectionist – as we are at Twig, so we’re confident of working well together. Heather is highly creative – and her eye for precision and perspective means we are all being kept on our toes as we build what we hope will be one of the most inspirational show garden at Chelsea.”

Heather Appleton’s urban garden is on show at Chelsea from May 24-28
2011. Visit the Chilstone Garden on the Pavilion Way RHW30