Charity to make history at Chelsea with acoustic garden

A disability charity is to create the first ever acoustic garden for the Chelsea Flower Show.

Dame Evelyn Glennie. Image: Supplied
Dame Evelyn Glennie. Image: Supplied

Papworth Trust is working with world-famous solo percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie on their 'Together We Can' garden, celebrating the charity's inclusive vision for disability with a sensory and accessible outdoor space.

It will be the first time the RHS Chelsea Flower Show has hosted an acoustic garden. Papworth Trust and Dame Evelyn hope the project will raise awareness of inclusivity and act as a legacy for both disabled people and gardeners.

Features include a water marimba which will transform the garden into a musical instrument amid a backdrop of natural woodland copse, interwoven with features that evoke the equipment of a recording studio. The overall form of the garden will evoke the structure of the ear.

Dame Evelyn, who is profoundly deaf, said: "I wanted to use the subtleties of the garden and the elements of nature to bring together something that is around us and part of our everyday life.

"I want people to look at the garden and see and feel an orchestra and then look at their garden or other gardens with a different viewpoint.

"We will have a water feature which is not so unusual as water itself creates its own sounds. You can get particular types of rhythms from many garden objects while I will also use as many natural products as possible. I have not been to Chelsea before so I am very excited to be part of it."

Also working on the project will be Chelsea gold medal designer Peter Eustance, and students from Brunel University.

Dame Evelyn added: "It is great working with the students who have brought in a technological aspect to enhance the sounds and make people aware and experience the subtleties of the garden."

Helen Fairhurst, senior marketing manager from Papworth Trust, said: "This is a unique project for both the Chelsea Flower Show and our charity and it is incredible to see the excitement the garden is already creating and the difference it can make to the people we work with.

"Our excitement is shared by Dame Evelyn who has always wanted to reach as many people as possible with her music."

Dame Evelyn said: "One of my aims is to show that you can create music from almost anything. But the bigger legacy will be if we can recreate the concept of this type of garden in other public spaces.

"I want to create several sound-scape gardens for people to visit and enjoy and to show that wonderful gardens don't just grow, they actually grow aurally as well."

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