Charlotte Rowes no Mans Land Garden Wins Gold At RHS Chelsea For ABF The Soldiers’ Charity
DescriptionCharlotte Rowe’s ‘No Mans Land garden’, designed for the British Army’s national Charity, ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, has been awarded a prestigious Gold Medal at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
A conceptual representation of the landscape of World War One in the hundredth year since the the War began, the garden is one of 15 show gardens at the 2014 show and one of only six to win a coveted Gold Medal.
It is the first time that Charlotte has staged a major show garden at RHS Chelsea. She said “I’m delighted to have won a Gold Medal for The Soldiers’ Charity for a garden that means a great deal to me. My Grandfather was one of the first soldiers to go over the top at the Battle of the Somme, he was wounded on the first day and was one of the lucky ones to survive. I wanted to create a garden that honoured him and all those like him. Winning Gold is a huge thrill for me and I’m delighted to have won it for a charity that does such important work helping soldiers’ and their families.”
The ‘No Man’s Land’ garden, reflects how the landscape of the Western Front changed as a result of the conflict. It includes a water basin representing the deep circular mine craters which have now become peaceful havens for plants and wildlife, an area of mixed native and ornamental planting amongst limestone setts which represent the villages and towns that were destroyed by the conflict and a long feature wall which references the many fortifications and pillboxes still found along the Western Front. The garden was designed to serve as a poignant reminder of the challenges and hardships faced by soldiers 100 years ago, while highlighting the work of The Soldiers’ Charity today in helping soldiers, veterans and their families facing adversities.
Maj Gen (Ret’d) Martin Rutledge, Chief Executive of the ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, said: “Being part of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show for the first time has been a wonderful experience. We wanted our garden to be a place where visitors could reflect on the experience of soldiers during World War One and which could remind us of the hardships they endured. Charlotte has created a beautiful, tranquil space that reflects one hundred years of history, nature and human experience. Winning Gold is testament to her genuine passion for the project and a fitting tribute to all those that the garden commemorates.”
The garden is supported by private bank Coutts and global engineering and construction company, Bechtel.
Michael Morley, Chief Executive, Coutts & Co, commented: "We are absolutely delighted that No Man's Land has won a Gold medal. This is testament to the great design work by Charlotte Rowe and the team in ensuring the garden effectively marks the centenary of World War One and reflects how the landscape of the Western Front, though changed forever, has been regenerated. Coutts has a long tradition of supporting the community and charitable causes and the garden and this medal has far exceeded all of our objectives of raising awareness of the inspirational work undertaken by ABF The Soldiers' Charity."
“Winning gold is a fantastic achievement and a tribute to the design skills of Charlotte Rowe and her team”, said Peter Dawson, president of Bechtel’s global civil infrastructure business. “We at Bechtel are very proud to be associated with the ABF Soldier Charity’s “No Man’s Land” garden, which offers a respectful remembrance of World War One during this centenary year. We hope that visitors enjoy the garden and feel inspired by its story of regeneration and hope.”
After the show, elements of the garden will be relocated to Headley Court – the Ministry of Defence rehabilitation centre in Surrey, where The Soldiers’ Charity is currently funding a Horticultural Therapist to help return injured and seriously ill members of the British Armed Forces to recover..
As the British Army’s national Charity, The Soldiers’ Charity provides financial grants to individuals, and gives grants to specialist charities which support the wider Army family.
The Charity has worked with soldiers, veterans and Army families since 1944, providing support in times of need. Their oldest beneficiary last year was 108, the youngest just a few months old.