A new initiative called ‘Silent Space’ aims to provide a quiet area for people to "enjoy the beauty of their surroundings without distraction".
Oxfordshire-based garden writer, Liz Ware started the project which invites a variety of gardens to reserve an area where visitors have the opportunity to wander, sit, or reflect, without being disturbed by the human voice.
Ware said: "Our lives are very hectic and we rarely allow ourselves time to just be quiet.‘It’s all too easy to miss out on the restorative benefits of being peaceful in a green place. Encouraging gardens that open to the public to create areas for silence at weekends seems an obvious solution.
"Silent Space is a very simple idea that is easy to set up and run. I hope that positive feedback from the pilot study will persuade other UK gardens to get involved in 2017. It would be wonderful if in years to come, green Silent Spaces became part of everyday life - somewhere easily accessible for people to be quiet, whenever they felt the need."
Professional gardeners backed the scheme:
"We think this is a wonderful idea and perfectly in keeping with Lady Brunner’s intentions for the garden at Greys Court." – Adam Ford (Head Gardener, National Trust Greys Court).
"I’m very happy to be involved in Silent Space as the project reflects the atmosphere of these special gardens. Their beauty, peace and calm are some of the qualities most loved by our visitors." – Pat Havers (Head Gardener, Waterperry Gardens)
"We are really pleased to be one of the locations to host a ‘Silent Space’ event and Croome’s ‘Capability’ Brown landscape is the perfect setting," said Katherine Alker, National Trust Croome’s Garden & Park Manager. "We hope to encourage as many visitors, staff and volunteers as possible to get involved and to enjoy a moment of quiet contemplation."
Sarah Hesketh, event manager for Open Garden Squares Weekend said: "Visitors to Open Garden Squares Weekend will be able to experience four ‘silent spaces’ in our participating gardens this year. Eden Community Garden, St Mary’s Secret Garden, Cable Street Community Garden and Thrive Battersea Garden will all be reserving an area dedicated to silence from the human voice. We are really pleased to be supporting this initiative and hope many visitors get the chance to listen to the birds, the sound of the breeze in the trees and enjoy the tranquillity of nature completely undisturbed."
"The Quiet Garden Movement is delighted to see the Silent Space pilot study taking place this summer in gardens that open to the public – providing people with the gift of being silent for part of their day," said Matt Freer (Projects Manager of the Quiet Garden Movement). "Time outdoors in silence and contemplation can be such a restorative experience to both mind and body – and we hope visitors to these gardens will want to repeat the experience."