Chelsea garden provides spiritual uplifting

The designers behind “The Memoria & GreenAcres Transcendence Garden” at the 2023 RHS Chelsea Flower Show, have revealed the details behind its inspiring and uplifting message.

The garden designed by Gavin McWilliam and Andrew Wilson of McWilliam Studio, is centred around opening up positive conversations about the end of life, encouraging people to discuss the often hard-to-broach topic of death and share their dying wishes with loved ones.

Providing a spiritual, uplifting and inspiring space, the garden provides a haven for reflection and contemplation to help the bereaved feel a sense of calm during their grieving process, immersing visitors in the healing power of nature through thoughtful design, beautiful planting schemes and clever use of water and light.

The garden design, sponsored by Darwin Alternatives, is influenced by McWilliam’s and Wilson’s personal experiences of loss, as well as drawing on the important services that Memoria and GreenAcres offer grieving families.

Thoughtful space with sense of peace

The garden will be the first garden to greet guests upon arrival through the main entrance to the Show. The design duo are creating a thoughtful space that invites visitors to feel a sense of peace, while celebrating life at the same time. Planting includes impressive multi-stemmed Gleditsia tricanthos trees – the height and canopy creating a calming dappled shade – while a thoughtful combination of shrubs and ferns, perennials and groundcover, envelop visitors in nature and beauty as they enter the garden before arriving at a shallow film of moving water.

Limestone is used throughout – some rough and textured to reflect that life isn’t always as simple as one might expect.

The cantilevered pavilion brings showstopping drama to the garden and is designed to be minimalist and pure. Below the canopy, plants have been selected to create a transitory quality, featuring elegant, muted colour palettes with bright flecks dotted throughout to represent the brighter points in life.

Gavin McWilliam said: “Many associate traditional memorial landscapes as very grey, heavy, and negative spaces, often lacking in spirituality, beauty and opportunity to celebrate life. We wanted to create somewhere that is as calm and tranquil as it is inspiring and uplifting, offering somewhere to reflect and remember as well as a place to have open and honest discussions around death and dying with your loved ones.

To achieve this, we have incorporated a range of contrasting plants, shrubs and trees of varying heights, textures and colours, while playing with lighting, and infrastructural elements to reflect that life features both beautiful moments and more difficult times, often leading us down unexpected paths.”

Jane Kirkup, GreenAcres Group added that loss and grief is something that all of us experience in our lifetimes: “We believe that encouraging open conversations around the subject is incredibly important,” she said.

Over 3000 plants are being grown by Hortus Loci in preparation for the garden including grasses, ferns, perennials and shrubs.

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show runs from 23rd to 27th May 2023.

You can find out more about the garden by visiting:

Garden design ©McWilliam/Wilson – McWilliam Studio