'Mind Trap' RHS Chelsea 2017 wins GOLD

MIND TRAP Fresh Garden for RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017, Site FR82 This garden is a physical manifestation of my personal experience of suffering from and living with depression. It's purpose is to help those that suffer in similar ways to be assured that they are not alone in their own personal struggles. It also endeavours to explain to others that have no personal experience of suffering what it may feel like, by way of a physical tangible living garden with the use of symbolism and creating an atmosphere. https://www.rhs.org.uk/shows-events/rhs-chelsea-flower-show/Gardens/2017/mind-trap A huge thank you to everyone involved. Without you, the garden would have remained an idea on paper.

Garden Show Ireland 2011

'One 4 the Journey...'  A show garden in association with the charity Aware Defeat Depression based in Belfast that I was honoured to be working alongside in May 2011. 

The reason for this show garden was to attempt to explain to the sufferes of depression that they are not alone in how they feel.  It also should let those that are not suffering from mental ill-health what it feels like to be in that position. 

The garden is called 'One 4 the Journey...' as 1 in 4 people are diagnosed with mental health problems including depression.  The garden has several references to the 1 in 4, including having four main areas and steps in sets of four. 

The lowest point of the garden is surrounded by very tall gabion walls and covered with a distorted square metal pergola.  This is the scariest and at the same time most secure part of the garden.  There are two paths that lead out of here, one of which being a false start path that leads you back down to where you started, to stare into the pool like the carved wooden sculpture. 

The next section leads you out of the ground and towards what appears to be the way out, but is in fact a dead end, disguised by a curved mirror giving you a distorted view of yourself and the world.  Pushing through the bamboos behind the large gabion wall the path opens up to give you two choices.  One is up a set of four boulders, while the other is less steep and is made with four cut sandstone flags.  Both path choices lead to the circular paved area, the vicious circle.  

Moving upwards, the path changes in material to cut log steps in sets of four and these lead right to the top level.  From here you can see your journey and how far you have come. 




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'One for the Journey...' show garden on the opening day of the Garden Show Ireland 2011. This shows the overall layout from the lowest point on the right below the steel pergola to the highest point on top of the dark blue wall.


This is the lowest point of the garden, which is the start of the journey. The space feels closed in and cage like, but at the same time safe.


The view along the edge of the planting. Beyond the Trachycarpus the dead end path with the curved mirror can just be be seen.


Once you have started to climb out from the caged area you are faced with a dead end and a curved mirror. From this you are only able to have a distorted view of yourself and the world.


The view down in the lowest point of the garden showing the steep steps out.


The circular paving represents the vicious circle. Freom here there is a decision to be made as to what direction to go, whether upward to the top, or back down to where you came.


The sandstone vicious circle and the cut log steps in the background.


The top and final destination of your journey. The decked areas are shaped like curved triangles, and together represent the broken vicious circle that you have taken control of and rearranged.


The view back down from where you started reminds you of how far you have come. The water takes a reflective quality and instead of reflecting the cage in the bottom pool, you get to see the beauty of the sky.


Shadows caused by the distorted metal pergol towering overhead are also reflect in the dark pool.


The glimpse view from the lowest point of the garden which gives you hope that there is more than just the caged area you feel trapped in.


The hand drawn 3D visualisation of the garden.


Stunning chainsaw carved wooden sculpture that just says it all. By 'Green Oak Craft' in County Antrim


The hand drawn plan and notes for the 'One 4 the Journey...' show garden.