Pearlfisher Garden – a unique underwater world

An underwater garden showcasing the dichotomy of the beauty and destruction in our oceans – the world’s largest garden – is the inspiration for ‘The Pearlfisher Garden’, at the 2018 RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

The creative team behind the garden, sponsored by Pearlfisher, includes RHS multi gold and silver medal award-winner, John Warland; Pearlfisher’s Creative Partner and Chief Creative Officer, Karen Welman; and world renowned underwater sculptor, Jason deCaires Taylor.

The show garden will consist of a series of below=water level aquatic tanks that will transport visitors into a unique underwater world. Beneath a 3D-printed sculpture of a Pearl Diver – or Japanese Ama – made from recycled PLA plastic, specimen planting including cacti, succulents and exotics will creatively juxtapose the beauty and possible desertification of the world’s most precious garden. Fish will remind visitors of the threat to the food chain posed by ocean plastics and their associated toxins.

At the centre of the garden will sit ‘The Coral Man’ from renowned sculptor and environmentalist, Jason deCaires Taylor. The boundary walls will incorporate 1,000 recycled plastic water bottles, representing how much plastic packaging is thrown into the oceans every five seconds – the direct cause of its demise.

A staggering 78 million tons of plastic packaging produced annually is left to flow into our oceans according to the World Economic Forum – The New Plastics Economy Report, equivalent of pouring one garbage truck of plastic into the ocean every minute.

Karen Welman explains that as designers they saw an opportunity, through design, to creatively highlight one of the world’s most pressing problems and make change: “The Pearlfisher Garden is a window to the world of our unseen treasures and also highlights the irrevocable impact of plastic waste,” she said. She also points out that all designers, regardless of expertise, have a responsibility to design sustainably, so we can solve problems through design innovation and smart creative thinking.

She continued, “Our vision for ‘The Pearlfisher Garden‘ is to be a quiet and static space that reconciles beauty and tranquility with a dynamic and thought-provoking message. My hope is that it will inspire and educate all and be a lasting visual legacy for our grandchildren and future generations to come.”

John Warland comments that combining innovative design and materials with the best horticultural practices can deliver thought-provoking and engaging spaces that work on different levels, providing truly enriching experiences: “This is the very idea behind the design of The Pearlfisher Garden. It challenges perceptions on both an aesthetic and intellectual level to drive home its crucial message through a stunningly unique and sustainable design that offers up an underwater world of wonder. It’s a privilege to be part of the team bringing this to life,” he said.

The garden features in the Space to Grow category at the show and one feels sure that it will be both challenging and interesting with its very important message regarding our use of plastic and its effect on our oceans.

John is a highly experienced garden designer. He has exhibited a show garden at the famous Chaumont Festival exhibition and several at RHS Hampton Court as well as RHS Chelsea where he has five times been awarded an RHS Gold medal.

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show runs from 22nd to 26th May, 2018. For information please visit: