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BBC One Show Garden


Type:              Competition Entry

Works:            Proposal for Hampton Court Flower Show Garden


Helen proposed the Silk Weaver’s Garden for the Hampton Court Flower Show 2014, which was a finalist in the One Show Garden Design Competition.


The design is inspired by Spitalfields, the historic hub of the refugee Huguenot silk weavers. In the mid-eighteenth century, people like Anna Maria Garthwaite were creating designs that set England apart from France by imitating the botanical detail of flowers and fruits found in nature and from illustrated plates in plant catalogues. The Silk Weaver’s Garden imagines stepping inside the mind of a silk weaver at their work, recalling the details and colours of their local flora against the rhythm of their loom work. The flowers leap out of the weaver’s threads that propel through the garden, held in tension by giant loom beams. The twisting route of the threads, shaping areas of seclusion and openness, dissects the planting into two classes; bright sunlight and dappled shade. In silk weaving the interaction of the ‘warp’ and ‘weft’ threads creates a different quality to the silk on either side of the fabric; one side of lustrous satin and the reverse side left rougher. The bright sunlit areas of the garden represent the luminous floral patterns of the satin side and the shaded area represents the calmer, more sedated reverse side.


The choice of plants is inspired from the silk designs of Anna Marie Garthwaite, and the historic record of local flora. The bright and varied flowers will attract a host of different insects. The garden aspires to rekindle an interest in local and historic plants and encourage visitors to investigate the history of their local flora.

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